The following history of the Welch family of northeast Tennessee is a combination of information I have gathered over the past 20 years and that which was obtained by my mother, Lurlie G. (Hargraves) Buttery.
The earliest Welch ancestor that I have been able to document is Tandy H. Welch. Although no proof has been found, I believe that Tandy was the son of Robert Welch. As will be shown below, Robert Welch was born in Buckingham Co., VA in October of 1760 and later moved to Tennessee. The 1774 Buckingham Co., VA tax list includes a James Welch. The 1800 Buckingham Co., VA tax list includes Robert Welch as well as Richard Welch and James Welch.
On August 8, 1783, Robert Welch received Bounty Land Warrant #1526 containing 200 acres for his service as a Private in the Continental Line during the Revolutionary War. In an affidavit taken in Grainger Co., TN, dated 1832, Robert Welch stated that he enlisted in the military service of the United States in Buckingham Co., VA in 1776. The accompanying document of questions asked by the court mentions the record of his age was, at that time, in Lexington, KY. He was most likely referring to the family Bible. The 1830 census of Fayette Co., KY, where Lexington is located, included a James Welch. No additional information has been discerned regarding the relation of these two Welches. The pension application also includes a brief of the case and the receipt for the pension.
Peter Wolfenbarger and Joseph Wolfenbarger stated in the Grainger County affidavit that they knew Robert Welch and supported his assertion that he had been a soldier during the Revolutionary War. There is more detail concerning this on my Welch and Wolfenbarger Connection page.
In our family, the story was always told that Tandy Welch's father also lived on Wallen's Ridge at Powell River near where Tandy made his home. Even as an old man, the elder Welch could reportedly shoot game from a great distance, indicating his accuracy and eyesight were still good at an old age. However, this gave us no clue to his name until I found a deed to Robert Welch in Claiborne Co., TN dated February 21, 1812. This deed proves that the location of Robert Welch's home was in close proximity to the land later purchased by Tandy Welch from Edward Dotson.
Robert Welch was still living in 1835 as he is listed in Grainger County on the Tennessee Pension Roll of 1835. To see the complete listing of Revolutionary War pensioners living in Tennessee in 1835, click on the following link (off site - use your browser's BACK button to return) Tennessee Pension Roll of 1835.
Many of Tandy Welch's children and grandchildren moved to the area in or around Grainger Co., TN. As shown above, Robert Welch was living in Grainger Co., TN as early as 1832. I believe that this Robert Welch in Grainger County is the same Robert Welch that purchased land in Claiborne Co., TN in 1812. I also believe that Joseph Welch who was a resident of the portion of Claiborne Co., TN that did not become part of Hancock County was also related to Tandy. There is a good possibility that there is a familial relationship between this Welch family and the Wolfenbarger family.
Tandy H. Welch was born in Virginia on August 25, 1793 and died in Hancock Co., TN on November 27, 1864, according to the Welch family Bible. Tandy enlisted in the military at Mulberry Gap, TN on November 13, 1814. He served six months and five days during the War of 1812 in the 4th Regiment under Capt. John Brock. He was discharged on May 18, 1815 at Knoxville, TN. It is through his military record that the first account of Tandy is found.
The first evidence of Tandy Welch's having obtained land is found in 1817 in Claiborne Co., TN where he was assigned twenty acres from John Waggoner. The land lay "on the north side of Wallins Ridge on the waters of Powels River." On July 24, 1820, Tandy purchased thirty acres of land from Edward Dotson in Claiborne Co., TN "on the North Bank of Powels river." In 1825, Tandy received a land grant for twenty acres in Claiborne Co., TN "adjoining his own land, on the north side of Powell's river." In 1826, Tandy received a land grant for 100 acres "on the south side of Powell River immediately below the Virginia State line" in Claiborne Co., TN. In 1829, Tandy received a land grant for 25 acres in Claiborne Co., TN "immediately on the north side of Powell's river." All of the previous land holdings became part of Hancock Co., TN when that county was established in 1844.
Tandy also acquired land in neighboring Virginia. In 1829, Tandy purchased 100 acres of land from Absolom Robinson. This land adjoined his other holdings at the Tennessee-Virginia boundary. In 1836, Absolom Robinson was obligated to Tandy for the sum of $240 and used fifty acres of land as collateral.
Tandy helped organize and was a member of the Speaks Chapel Methodist Church in Lee Co., VA. He was listed as a trustee in 1839.
In 1850, Congress passed a law giving bounty land to military veterans. Tandy Welch applied for a bounty land warrant in December of that year. By this time, Tandy was living in Hancock Co., TN by virtue of the formation of the new county. He received eighty acres of land from this application, the location of which has not been determined. After additional land was awarded to veterans, Tandy applied for another bounty land warrant. From his second application, Tandy received another eighty acres of land. The site of this land is uncertain.
In the mid-1800s, Tandy built a log home on his land in Hancock Co., TN on the bank of Powell River. (Click here for a photograph of the Tandy Welch house.) During a flood in the late 1800s, the water is said to have reached an apple tree that stood in the corner of the yard. The house was occupied by members of the Welch family until it was sold to Irby Neal. The house has since been torn down.
A Welch Cemetery is located on the north side of Wallens Ridge in Hancock Co., TN. It is situated about 1/2 mile south of the Baldwin Ford across Powell River from the location of Tandy Welch's house. There are no markers there, only field stones. One stone has the date "1800" carved near the top. The date was still legible around 1980. The cemetery was originally enclosed by a rock wall. Through the years, the wall was either torn down or fell down. Those who are known to be buried there are:
Tandy Welch married Mary "Polly" Clarkson on June 22, 1820. The marriage took place at Rob Camp Church in Claiborne Co., TN and Archibald Bales, Esq. performed the ceremony. Polly was born September 4, 1803 and died June 22, 1887, according to the Welch family Bible. Polly filed an application for a widow's pension from her late husband's service during the War of 1812. Her first claim was rejected. Polly filed another application in 1878 after a new act was passed which changed the marriage date requirement. She received two requests for additional information, to which she complied with a general affidavit. Polly finally was approved to receive a pension. A letter was among her pension papers which told of her death.
The 1830 census of Claiborne Co., TN lists Tandy Welch, as shown here:
This record indicates that in the Tandy Welch household, there were three males under the age of 5, four males between the ages of 5 and 10, and one male age 30 to 40 (Tandy). There was one female age 20 to 30 (Polly).
The 1840 census of Claiborne Co., TN includes the following Welch families:
According to this record, the Tandy Welch household consisted of three males between the ages of 10 and 15, four males between the ages of 15 and 20, and one male age 40 to 50 (Tandy). Also in the household were three females under the age of 5, three females between the ages of 5 and 10, and one female age 30 to 40 (Polly).
In the 1850 census of Hancock Co., TN, Tandy Welch was listed as "James" and Polly was listed as "Nancy." Their children were recorded correctly, as shown in the following:
The 1860 Hancock Co., TN census had the names listed correctly, as shown here:
Family tradition maintains that Tandy and Polly Welch had eighteen children. So far, seventeen have been documented. The eighteenth child may have died at an early age.