We cannot be absolutely certain that William Rountree (c1765-1836) was the son of Richardson Rountree without examining the circumstantial evidence. Below I’ve tried to summarize the significant elements of the proof. Specific citations can be found within the individual pages on William Rountree and Richardson Rountree.
- First, we know from his probate records and a grandson’s statement that Richardson Rountree had a son named William. William Rountree was paid a full share of his estate in 1820. Richardson Rountree’s brother Turner Rountree also had a son named William but it is easily proved that Turner’s son remained in Union County on the land inherited by him and his brother Woodson. .
- Richardson Rountree and his brother Turner were both residing in Union County, South Carolina when they died. And “our” William Rountree was “of Union County” when he purchased land in adjacent Laurens District. The divorce records in Alabama prove that William Rountree and his wife were married in Laurens District.
- Andrew J. Rountree, a grandson of Richardson Rountree, wrote in the 1890s regarding the sons of Richardson Rountree that “Thomas went to reside near Huntsville, Ala., and William somewhere in Tennessee.” He obviously mixed up the two sons, for we know that Thomas Rountree lived from about 1815 until his death in Lincoln County, Tennessee and that William Rountree, though initially settling in Lincoln County, was living on the northern outskirts of Huntsville from about 1812 until his death.
- The 1820 estate settlement established that Thomas was living in Tennessee and William in Alabama in 1820. Without an 1820 census for Alabama we can’t be sure how many William Rountrees there might have been in the state at the time of the estate settlement. However, we can connect the William Rountree of Madison County to Union District, South Carolina where Richardson Rountree lived from before the Revolution until his death. We can establish that our William Rountree was living in Union District in 1789 when he applied for a tavern license, and that he resided in Union District in 1790 when he purchased land in Laurens District. We know Richardson Rountree and his son James were living in Union District in 1790.
- Richardson Rountree and his son James Rountree are the only Rountrees in the 1790 Union District Census. William Rountree, listed in neighboring Laurens District (as “Rouentree”), is the only William Rountree enumerated as a head of householdin all of South Carolina. (Turner’s son was living at home in 1790.). Thus we know that Richardson’s son William was either that person or the second son under 16 in his 1790 household. The same facts apply to the 1800 census, when William Rountree is again the only William Rountree in South Carolina.
- William Rountree’s wife Sally declared in 1823 that they were married about 1793 in “the District of Lawrence (sic) in South Carolina”. (William himself testified they were married in 1790 or 1791.) Isaac Gray, an adjoining landowner of the 1790 land purchase, later named a daughter Sally Rountree in his will. This seems sufficient proof that William Rountree of Madison County, Alabama was the same William Rountree found in the records of Laurens District from 1790-1806.
We also have some evidence of associations between William Rountree and other members of the family. These don’t constitute proof, but are at least indicators. For example:
- In 1794, William Rountree of Laurens District sued one Dudley Red. Among the witnesses on his behalf was James Rountree, who was paid for 46 miles as he “lived outside the county”. This was almost certainly James Rountree, son of Richardson, who was living in adjoining Union County at the time.
- William and Thomas Rountree both appear in the records of Lincoln County, Tennessee, both owning land on the same creek shortly after their arrivals. William Rountree and Woodson Rountree, the son of Turner Rountree, both settled in Madison County, Alabama. In neither case do they appear with one another, but the proximity suggests the possibility of some relationship.
- Perhaps the most important genealogical point is that he is the only candidate to be the son of Richardson Rountree. There are no records in South Carolina of any other William Rountree who could have been a son of Richardson. [We know that there were two other William Rountrees, one the son of Turner Rountree, who served in the War of 1812 and remained in Union County through about 1830, and the younger William Rountree, son of James, whose movements can also be traced.]