Isaac Bynum (c1758 – aft1840)

Although there are several family legends to the effect that Isaac Bynum served in the Revolution, I could find no evidence of it.  Nor did he apply for a service pension though he apparently lived long enough to have done so.  LIke most men his age, he probably served in the Chatham or Orange County militia, for which virtually no records survive.

Census records, which are not particularly reliable, suggest a birth year in the early 1760s, but my guess is that he was likely a year or two older than that.  Isaac first appears in the records of Chatham County, North Carolina buying 137 acres next to his father William Bynum on Cubb Creek on 28 December 1785.1  The seller was James Bell, probably his first cousin, of Wilkes County, Georgia and a witness was William Bynum, his father. Isaac Bynum appeared in the 1790 census of Chatham County with two male children under 16 and two females. One of these females was evidently his first wife, but her identity is unknown.

He moved with the rest of his family to Pendleton District, South Carolina in the early 1790s. On 20 April 1794 he bought 600 acres there on Twelve Mile River, with David Murphree and Joel Moody, both former residents of Chatham County, as witnesses.2  A few months later, on 1 November 1794, he sold his land in Chatham County as “Isaac Bynum of the County of Pendleton and State of South Carolina”, with his brother James Bynum and brother-in-law James Powell as witnesses.3  [He made a few dollars on the deal; he bought the land for 30 pounds and sold it for 50, the same amount he paid for his Pendleton land.] The absence of a dower release suggests the possibility that his first wife may have been dead by 1794. This would fit with the set of children born between roughly 1780 and 1791, and may explain why some of those children ignored the children of Isaac’s later marriage.4

He purchased another 202 acres on Twelve Mile River the following year, on 22 September 1795.5  All his land, in fact the lands of all the Bynums, seems to have been located near the present town of Pickens almost in the center of what is today Pickens County. Isaac, his father and brothers, and dozens of families from Chatham County were listed in Captain Brown’s Regiment in the 1800 census of Pendleton. Isaac’s household consisted of one male 26-45, two males 10-16, one male under 10, one female under 10, one female 10-16 and one female 16-26. This census record seems to confirm the presence of a second wife, since the mother of the children born in the early 1780s would have been considerably older than 16-26 by then.

In 1805 and 1806, the Cherokee Indians ceded land in southern middle Tennessee above the Alabama (then Mississippi Territory) line. In early 1806 Congress permitted grants in the area of Bedford, Warren, Franklin, and other counties, and in 1807 the area was surveyed. It appears that some of the Bynums and several other Pendleton families decided to migrate into this new territory. Isaac Bynum sold his 202 acre parcel in Pendleton to Daniel Murphree on 15 January 1807 and apparently removed to Tennessee, along with his brothers John and Benjamin.6  I found no record of his having sold his original 600 acres, but many deeds of early Pendleton were never recorded or were lost. Isaac was not in the 1810 census of South Carolina, nor in the 1810 census of any state or territory. Since the 1810 census of Tennessee was lost, it seems likely that is where he was. His brother Benjamin was in Bedford County, Tennessee by 1807 and his brother John was there by 1809, both having sold their land in Pendleton within a month or two of Isaac’s sale.

By early 1812 we find him, consecutive with his son James, in the tax list of Warren County, Tennessee along with several other former Pendleton County residents.7  He seems to be enumerated on a list of people living near the Franklin County line. He was probably there at least a year or two earlier, as his son James was married in or near Warren County in December 1810. I found no further record of him in Warren County, but he must have remained in Tennessee for several more years. He may have moved into adjacent Franklin County, where his son James, son-in-law George Glover, and brother John were living in 1820 and where his son Asa had purchased land in 1815. At some point he apparently moved just over the line into Jackson County, in the new state of Alabama. The 1820 census of Alabama no longer exists, and it is likely he was there by then. There is a land entry for Isaac Bynum in Blount County in 1826, but it may have been by a grandson. Four of his eldest children settled in Blount County about 1818. He, his son James, and his younger “second family” settled in Jackson County, several miles east

He was in Jackson County’s 1830 census as head of a household of one male 50-60 (sic), one male 15-20, two males 10-15, one male 5-10, one female 10-15, one female 15-20, one female 50-60 and one female 70-80. [This record suggests a relatively large second family, along with the second wife or perhaps a third wife.] As “Isaac Bynum Senior” of Jackson County he was issued a warrant for 160 acres in Jackson County on 6 August 1830 and received a grant almost dead-center in the county on 20 March 1831.8  He sold the land on 26 December 1831, his wife Blancy relinquishing dower.9  Both signed by mark. He may have been the same Isaac Bynum who bought land from George and Nancy Haney on 2 January 1835. He was apparently still alive for the 1840 census of Jackson County, when an Isaac Bynum was head of a household consisting of one male 70-80, one male 15-20 and one female 60-70. The same year, his son entered land as Isaac Bynum “Jr.”, implying that old Isaac was still alive.10 There was no sign of him in the 1850 census of Alabama or any other state. It appears he died between 1840 and 1850 in Jackson County, but whatever record of his death there may have been was destroyed with the rest of the county’s records. Family legend has it that he was buried in Jackson County, but a gravestone has never been found.

Isaac Bynum’s brother John Bynum applied for a Revolutionary pension in 1832, declaring that he “has lost his discharge papers…and he knows of but one person, if he is now living, by whom he can prove the said service, and that person now lives in the State of Alabama, and when he last heard from him he was alive – he was an old man, about the same age or older than himself. 11  This seems likely to be a reference to Isaac Bynum.

In 1916, a great-grandson of Isaac Bynum, Jasper E Bynum, wrote a book partly comprised of newspaper columns he had written mainly devoted to four of Isaac’s elder children and their descendants, who settled in Blount County. Isaac is briefly mentioned

The father of my grandfather John Bynum, was named Isaac. Isaac’s father with his brother, came from England in 1735 and is supposed to have settled in North Carolina. My great grandfather was born in North Carolina in 1755…

My grandfather John Bynum was born in 1784. He had two brothers, Asa and James, and two sisters, Rebecca and Cynthia. They were all born in North Carolina and all moved to South Carolina where they all married.

John and Asa married sisters. John married Rhoda Murphree and Asa married Rebecca Murphree. These sisters were daughters of Solomon Murphree after who Murphree’s Valley was named.

I do not know who James married. Cynthia married Moses Cornelius in 1806 and Rebecca married George Glover. They moved from North Carolina to South Carolina and in 1818 they moved to Murphree’s Valley, Blount County, Alabama.

My great grandfather Solomon Murphree and my grandfather, John Bynum, and his family came by Tennessee… ((Historical Sketches of the Bynum Family, Jasper E. Bynum, 1916 (Reprinted by The Southern Democrat, 1958), p1))

There follows about 75 pages of marvelous biographical sketches of many descendants of the Blount County Bynums. There are, however, some apparent transcriptions or typesetting errors, and numerous errors of fact. The collection of sketches was clearly meant as a remembrance of the many Bynums around whom Jasper grew up, not as a serious genealogical reference. Nonetheless, this is our only clear evidence of the elder children of Isaac Bynum. There is no further mention of Isaac or of his son James Bynum, apparently because they did not live in Blount County. There is also no mention of any of Isaac Bynum’s second family. Nor does Jasper E. Bynum anywhere mention Rebecca Bynum Powell, almost certainly Isaac’s sister, who lived past 1850 in Blount County. There is, however, a sketch of Jesse Bynum, probably Isaac’s first cousin, who is identified by Jasper only as a “relative”.

There was a “Volume II” to Jasper E. Bynum’s book published in 1958.12  This was a compilation of descendants of the Blount County Bynum families, apparently organized from questionnaires and interviews, and included no additional information on Isaac Bynum or his ancestry.

The five children named by Jasper E. Bynum were born, judging from census records, in the period 1780-1791 in Chatham County. They seem to be children of a first marriage, and that seems to be confirmed by census records for Isaac Bynum himself. There was clearly a second family by a second wife, but none of those children were mentioned by Jasper.

An unpublished paper from a series of interviews in Jackson County taken in the mid-1950s, called the “Proctor Papers”13 contains the following statement from a 97-year old great-grandson of Isaac Bynum and grandson of Isaac Bynum Jr.:

…It has been said that the Bynums are Scotch-Irish. Three brothers came from Scotland to America, settled in North Carolina, where they married. One remained in North Carolina, one went to Murphy’s (sic) Valley in Alabama, the other brother went to Tennessee. Isaac Bynum Sr. came from Tennessee to Maynard’s Cove in 1818, settled at Holland’s Chapel finding only one other family living in the cove…Isaac Bynum Sr.’s children were Jesse, Tucker, Isaac Jr., a girl married an Evans, Mary married Anthony Foster, Ann married Allen Bagget…

Whether this is a reliable list of Isaac Bynum’s second set of children is uncertain, but it is surely an incomplete one. Of the six children mentioned, Isaac Jr. was surely his son, but Tucker and Jesse may have been grandsons. The three daughters are supportable by other evidence.

A second excerpt, from the same source, reads:

…Isaac Bynum Sr. homesteaded 160 acres of land where Holland’s Chapel now stands, came here with his second wife, from Bedford or Franklin County, Tenn. One of his wives was an Easley, the other was___ Haney. He is buried at Old Liberty Church graveyard…The first Isaac Bynum who came to Jackson County, Alabama was Sr. his son was Isaac Bynum Jr., they did not have Newton in their names. Isaac Newton Bynum was the son of Isaac Bynum Jr., and the father of Mr. William Thomas Bynum [the source of this information] who is yet living at Carns, Alabama [in 1957].

Who were Isaac Bynum’s wives? He clearly had a first wife by about 1780, whom he probably married in North Carolina, and who appears to have died sometime in the 1790s. The 1800 census contains his known children and a female 16-26 who appears to be a second wife by whom he had not yet had children. The statement above says he had a wife named Easley. She seems much more likely to be the second wife rather than the first. There are no records of any Easleys in the vicinity of Orange or Chatham counties.14   But a John Easely is two households away from Isaac Bynum in the 1800 Pendleton census. (John Easley, p14: 41101-23010. He lived on Rice’s Creek. A John Easley is also on the 1812 Franklin County tax list.())   This John Easley is probably the father of Benjamin Easley and Warham Easley, both of the same generation as that second wife and both of whom are associated with the family in later records.15   He may well be the John Easley who was a son of Warham Easley of Henry County, Virginia and Stokes County, North Carolina. That John Easley is in the 1790 census of Stokes County with a family that fits the 1800 Pendleton census, and disappears from the records of Stokes after 1795. Perhaps the same John Easley purchased land on Rice Creek in 1799 from a resident of Stokes County.16  Elsewhere in Pendleton was a Robert Easley who was also from Virginia.17

The second wife must have been the mother of most or all of the children of the second family. Whether she is the same person as the Blancy of the 1831 deed is unknown. The above statement is not clear about whether Isaac Bynum had two or three wives, saying only that he came to Alabama with his second wife. If there were three wives, it would appear to imply that Blancy, the last wife, was a Haney. The 1830 and 1840 censuses are of little help since the wife shown could have been either a second or third wife.

The most plausible conclusion is that Isaac probably had three wives. The first was the mother of the five children mentioned in Jasper E. Bynum’s book, who probably died around the time Isaac left North Carolina since there are no children born for more than a decade after 1791. He likely married the second wife, possibly a daughter of John Easley, shortly before 1800. The third wife, perhaps Blancy Haney, was apparently the female in the 1830 and 1840 censuses.

Four of the first five children are the subject of lengthy sketches in Jasper E. Bynum’s book, and all the children are treated in detail in my own book, so I have abbreviated their entries here.

  1. Asa Bynum (c1780 – 6 May 1833) Jasper E. Bynum said he was born in 1780, which seems about right. He married Rebecca Murphree, daughter of Solomon Murphree, on 16 September 1802 in Pendleton County according to family records. He first shows up in Pendleton County records buying land from Jesse Bynum on 3 August 1804.18  He’s in the 1810 census there, but sold his land in 1813 and apparently went to Tennessee, where he purchased land in Franklin County in 1815. He claimed land in Blount County, Alabama in 1818 and 1820, moved there and died in Blount County in 1833. He was a primitive Baptist preacher and, with Solomon Murphree and some of his children, was a founder of the Mt. Moriah Church. Church records give his date of death. Asa and Rebecca had at least eleven children.
  2. Rebecca Bynum (c1782? – by1850) Jasper E. Bynum wrote that she was the oldest daughter, born in 1782, and that she married George Glover about 1798. However, George Glover does not appear as a head of household in the 1800 census, so Rebecca may have been the female aged 10-16 in Isaac’s 1800 household. George Glover moved to Franklin County, Tennessee by 1812 when he appeared on the tax list adjacent to John Bynum. They were still in Franklin County when the 1820 census was taken, but had moved to Blount County by 1830. George and Rebecca had eleven children. Rebecca was apparently dead by 1850 when George Glover (age 75) appeared in the household of his son Eli Glover.
  3. John Bynum (c1784 – c1868) He does not show up in the records of Pendleton County. He seems to be in his father’s household in the 1800 census, but where he was in 1810 is not certain. It could be that it was he, not his uncle John, who appears on the 1812 tax list of Franklin County. Jasper E. Bynum stated in his book that John moved from Tennessee to Blount County, Alabama in 1818 at the same time as his brother Asa. He married Rhoda Murphree, another daughter of Solomon Murphree, about 1805. They had nine children.
  4. James Bynum (c1788 – 19 August 1868) Jasper E. Bynum’s statement above doesn’t give us any clues about James, except to imply that he lived into adulthood but probably didn’t live in Blount County. Luckily, we can find enough records to identify him almost without a doubt. (See separate page.)
  5. Cynthia Bynum (c1791 – c1875) Censuses suggest a birth year of 1791. Jasper E. Bynum wrote that she married Moses Cornelius about 1806 and ended up in Blount County by 1820. They had thirteen children.

The “second family” is less certain, but probably included the following children. Note that Isaac’s son James Bynum had children of about the same age as these, and the two sets of children cannot be entirely differentiated:

  1. Isaac Bynum Jr. (14 Sept 1805 – 26 February 1881) According to census records, he was born in South Carolina, apparently the son of his father’s second wife. He claimed land in Jackson County in 1830 and appeared in the 1830 census one household away from his brother James Bynum. He remained in Jackson County, appearing in several subsequent censuses. According to a family Bible, he married Tabitha Young, who was the mother of all his children. After she died, he married Rebecca Morris in Franklin County in 1856. His children were: James M., Nancy, William, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Thomas W., Jesse Wilburn, Jasper L., John Lewis, Ewing Stephen, and Mary B.
  2. Sarah Bynum ?(c1808 – ?) Although not mentioned in the statement above, her descendants think she may have been a daughter. She was the wife of Joseph Sanders of Jackson County.
  3. Phoebe Bynum ?(c1810 – c1842) She is also not mentioned in the statement above, but some descendants think she was a daughter. She was married to William Hutton of Jackson County. One of her children was named Isaac Bynum Hutton, thus raising the possibility she was a Bynum, daughter of Isaac.
  4. Allen Bynum ?(c1812? – ?) He could have been one of the males in Isaac’s household in 1830. He had his own household in 1840, but thereafter disappears. He doesn’t appear to be descended from any of the other Bynums in the area, thus was likely Isaac’s. His name may have derived from the Easley family.
  5. Mary (Polly) Bynum (c1814 – 1894?) She was mentioned in the statement above, and may be the daughter aged 15-20 in the 1830 census. Mary was the wife of Anthony Wayne Foster, and they named a child Isaac Newton Foster. She was age 36 in the 1850 census, born in Tennessee. I’m told that Mary married John Atteberry after Foster died in the 1860s and removed to Whites County, Illinois, then died in Rains County, Texas in 1894.
  6. Anna Bynum ?(c1815 – 1850s) The statement above refers to a daughter who married an Evans. That statement may have confused her with Isaac Bynum’s granddaughter (Mary Isabell Bynum, daughter of James Bynum) who married an Evans. Lewis Evans of Jackson County was married to an Anna about 1834, so she may have been the female aged 10-15 in Isaac’s 1830 household. One of her children was named Isaac Newton Evans. She was 35 in the 1850 census, born in Tennessee.
  7. Ann Bynum ?(c1800/10 – ?) The statement above mentions a daughter Ann who married Allen Baggett. I doubt that there was both an Ann and an Anna, so one of these two daughters probably doesn’t belong in this family. Daniel W. Bynum (see his page) referred in an 1864 letter to “Uncle Allen Baggett”, meaning the husband of either a son of James Bynum (who would have been an uncle) or a son of Isaac Bynum (who would have been a great-uncle). Allen Baggett’s 1840 census record shows him as age 40-50 and his wife as 30-40, a bit too old to be James Bynum’s daughter, thus she ws probably Isaac’s daughter. I am unable to find Allen Baggett in any state after 1840 to identify his wife further.
  8. Tucker W. Bynum (c1816 – ?) Whether he was a son of Isaac Bynum or of Isaac’s son James Bynum is unclear. I have listed him here with no real evidence other than the statement above and the fact that he may have been named after Tucker W. Easley, possibly a brother of Isaac’s second wife. He was called “Uncle Tuck” by Daniel W. Bynum a grandson of James Bynum in an 1864 letter [See Daniel W. Bynum page] but he could have been a great-uncle. Both Isaac and his son James had males of the right age in the 1830 census. In 1840 Tucker was adjacent to James Bynum, with two other males of the same age in his household. By 1850 he had purchased land in, and moved to, Franklin County, Tennessee, which bordered Jackson County, Alabama to the north. He appeared on the 1850 and 1860 censuses of Franklin County, but moved to Illinois by 1864. Although there are no records for him there, two of his children were married In Pope County, Illinois. His wife was named Nancy and, judging from the children’s ages, he married her about 1835. Their children were: Hiram Stephen, Richard F., Mary C., Serena Adeline, Sarilda, Isaac Newton, Nancy E., Sarah J., and Jesse A. His son Hiram Stephen Bynum was referenced in Daniel W. Bynum’s letter as having married a Miss Holcom (sic) who lived in Titus County, Texas in 1864. She was Martha Holcomb, whom he married in Arkansas.
  9. Jesse Bynum (c1819 – 1873) He was also called “Uncle Jesse” by John W. Bynum’s son [see Daniel W. Bynum page]. As with Tucker Bynum, it isn’t clear if he was a son of Isaac or of James. He was apparently the Jesse Bynum adjacent to James, Isaac, and Tucker Bynum in the 1840 census of Jackson County, Alabama. He moved with Tucker W. Bynum, across the county and state line into Franklin County, Tennessee before 1850. He was in the 1850 census of Franklin County three households away from Tucker Bynum. His wife was named Mary E. and they had a child named James H. Bynum. There was a 17 year-old named John Bynum in the household who couldn’t have been his son. According to Daniel Bynum’s letter, he moved to Arkansas in 1859 and was still there in 1864. He bought land in Pope County, Illinois in 1866 and died there in 1873. (Although Daniel Bynum’s 1864 letter says Jesse’s son James was serving in the CSA, another of Jesse’s sons, Isaac Bynum, served in the Union army.)
  1. Chatham County Deed Book F, p72. []
  2. Pendleton County Deed Book B, p346. []
  3. Chatham County Deed Book G, p333. []
  4. Historical Sketches of the Bynum Family, Jasper E. Bynum, 1916 (Reprinted by The Southern Democrat, 1958) mentions five children of Isaac Bynum (p1) but ignores subsequent children who appear to have been his by one or more later wives. []
  5. Pendleton County Deed Book C, p370. []
  6. Pendleton County Deed Book I, p19. []
  7. Isaac and James were listed consecutively in the list of Christian Shell []
  8. Certificate #2632, Huntsville Land Office. His son entered land the same day as “Isaac Bynum Jr.” []
  9. Alabama Records, Volume 19, Jones & Gandrud, p157. []
  10. Certificate #12270. []
  11. Pension File No. S3111 []
  12. Genealogy of the Bynum Family, Mary Lou Boazman Howard, 1958 (Printed by The Southern Democrat as a companion to Jasper Bynum’s book). []
  13. Unpublished documents by Mrs. J. A. Proctor, from interviews in Jackson County. Excerpt courtesy of T. J. Bynum. []
  14. There is a “Malichi Esley” on the 1790 Orange County tax list, but he is located in St. Asaph’s district in present-day Alamance County, a considerable distance form the Bynums. []
  15. Benjamin Easley was born about 1782 and Warham Easley about 1789, both in North Carolina. Both married Murphrees. []
  16. Pendleton District, S.C. Deeds 1790-1806, Betty Willie (Southern Historical Press, 1982), p132. []
  17. This Robert Easley was a Virginian whose first wife was a Mary Allen. Perhaps a coincidence that an Allen Bynum later appears in Jackson County. His 1806 will in Pendleton names sons Samuel and John ad two married daughters. His son John was not the same person near Isaac Bynum in the 1800 census. Robert Easley was of the same generation as that John Easley, but whether they were related or not is unknown. []
  18. Pendleton County Deed Book M, p65. []