Joel Vannoy (1813-1895), Preachin’, Swearin’ and Threatenin’ to Fight, 52 Ancestors #72

Joel Vannoy was the first Vannoy to live his entire life in Claiborne and Hancock County, Tennessee.  Joel was born on May 8, 1813 in Claiborne County (we think,) probably not long after his parents arrived in the area, and he died on January 8, 1895, also in Claiborne County.

Joel’s parents were Elijah Vannoy and Lois McNiel.  Elijah and family moved from Wilkes Co., NC about 1812 along with his wife, Lois McNiel’s parents, William McNiel and Elizabeth Sheppard.  If we believe that Joel was born in Claiborne County, they obviously arrived before May 1813, although Joel could have been born enroute.  His mother likely made that rough journey bouncing around in a wagon while quite pregnant.  Although, in the 1900 census, Elizabeth Vannoy Estes shows her father, Joel, as born in NC.

The McNiel and Vannoy families settled in what was then Claiborne, but is now Hancock County, near the intersection of Little Sycamore and Mulberry Gap Road. We have located the land where the Vannoy family lived which is on Mulberry Gap Road just north of the intersection with Little Sycamore in Hancock County.

Vannoy Hancock Co Map

We’re quite lucky that Elijah’s daughter, Lucinda Vannoy Campbell’s memories are preserved in the following excerpts from a letter written in the 1950s by her niece, Essie Bolton Marsee (oldest child of Dan Bolton and Pearlie E. Vannoy), as she talks about her “Aunt Lou,” meaning Lucinda.  Lucinda was, of course, Joel Vannoy’s sister.  The notes are mine.

I shall try to write down some of the memorys as told to me by Aunt Lou Vannoy Campbell when I was a little girl.  Aunt Lou was the sister of my great-grandfather Joel Vannoy.  She was an older sister, became an old maid school teacher and in later life married a former sweetheart who had been married before.  They waited until they were older because they were some kind of cousins.

(Note – Lucinda married Col. Joseph Campbell whose mother was a sister to Lucinda’s mother, Lois McNiel – so indeed Joseph and Lucinda were first cousins.)

Lucinda lived in Rutledge and my mother, Pearlie Vannoy Bolton, was staying with her when she got married to Dan Bolton.  She had a small confederate pension which helped her out.

She said the Vannoys left North Carolina on a flat boat and sailed down the coast and around Florida.  She mentioned being on the Duck River, but I never understood how they got from the Duck River to above Sneedville where they finally settled. They were two years on the trip and great grandfather Joel was born during this time, in 1812.

After they had been over here for some time, they learned that the governor of NC freed the slaves and since they had left some slaves in NC, Aunt Lou went back to see if she could collect for the slaves as the governor was paying something to the owners for the freed slaves.  She didn’t collect anything.

(Note – There is no indication that Elijah Vannoy owned slaves in Wilkes County.)

Over 40 years ago, some of us went to Sneedville to see where the people had lived.  We found a native who knew where the place was and took a picnic lunch and ate at the site of the old home.  The house was mostly gone, but there were shade trees and some flowers growing.  We saw the cave where the family hid their valuables and food such as hams when the soldiers were foraging.  Great grandfather (Joel) was a Southern sympathizer and wasn’t bothered too much by the Confederates, but they always hid everything of value when there were soldiers around.  Grandfather, James H. Vannoy, was 10 years old during the civil war.

The family later moved down to Claiborne County on Sycamore Creek and lived in the house where Bill Brocks now lives in the Pleasant View Community.  I remember hearing grandfather talk about playing with Lark McNeil.  The Vannoys, McNeils and Venables seem to have known each other for a long time and they seem to have been relatives of some kind.  I have always heard them speak of Uncle John McNeil.  Grandpa Vannoy’s grandmother was a McNeil.  The Vannoys and Venables have always been close and have intermarried considerable.

(Note – Elijah Vannoy married Lois McNeil in NC.)

Later great grandfather acquired some land in what became known as Vannoy Hollow where we were all raised.  He had several children and gave each of them a  farm.  George Vannoy was given the farm that later became known as the Keck farm.  He married Aunt Betty Ann Estes (Note – daughter of John Y. Estes and Rutha Dodson) and later moved to Texas and had several children.  Some were Docia, Sam and Bob who visited relatives in East Tennessee.  There may have been others too.  Aunt Bet Ann died not many years ago.  (Note – died in 1946.)   Aunt Bet (Elizabeth Vannoy Estes) was given the farm where Tom Aushan later lived.  She married Uncle “Laze” Estes and moved into what was known as Estes Hollow where they lived until they both died.  (Note – Lazarus Estes born 1848 died 1918 son of John Y. Estes and Rutha Dodson).

Aunt Sarah married Uncle John Nunn and she was given the farm below the home place.  My grandfather was given the home place.  Aunt Nancy married Uncle Nat Venable.  Since his sister married my grandfather and the inheritance of Nancy was swapped for the inheritance of my grandmother, so grandfather and grandmother got a double inheritance.

Great grandfather Joel lived to be in his 80s, was not well in his later years and was cared for by my grandfather.  My great grandmother (Note – Phebe Crumley Vannoy born 1818 died 1900) helped raise my mother since my grandmother died when my mother was two years old.  Grandfather lived to be 92.

We have been a very lucky family.  We are fortunate in the heritage handed down from our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.  They seem to have been descended from Scotch-Irish and Dutch.  They were very strict Protestants and brought up their children in the fear of the Lord.  In general, we have all had good health and there have been no criminals or outlaws in the family as far back and I can find out.  So thank God for our family history.”

In 1835, Joel Vannoy had land surveyed adjacent his father, Elijah, in what is now Hancock County.

Joel vannoy survey2

In 1839, on the Claiborne County tax list, Joel had 225 acres of school land worth $500.

In 1841, Joel signs a deed of trust with his father.  Earlier in 1841, Elijah Vannoy apparently had a suit filed against him for debt, and the plaintiff won.  Elijah signed a mortgage at that time against his wagon and team of oxen.  Three months later, two more debts surface, and now Joel and Elijah are both signing.

In 1841, Elijah sells land to Walter Evans, book P-259, for $5.  On September 21st, 1841, both Elijah and Joel Vanoy sign a deed of trust to Walter Evans for Elijah’s land , the 100 acres granted by the state to Elijah Vannoy Sr grant 16456, Maun’s chestnut, Rhes line…because Elija Venoy is indebted to William Houston merchant in Tazewell for the sum of $33 and 8 cents by note with interest due and also indebted to William Fugate for $62.50.  If Elijah fails to make the payments, Walter Evans to sell the land on the courthouse steps in Tazewell.  Signed by Joel, Elijah his mark

He also sells land that year to William Cole, book S-390, for $50.

Apparently, Joel has some interest in this land, although we don’t have any document that says such.  Regardless, Elijah and Joel do lose Elijah’s land.

In 1845, Elijah and Joel Vannoy sell land to William L. Overton, book S 638, for $250.

May 18, 1846 – Claiborne County deed – Elijah and Joel Vanoy, 100 acres to William J. Overton.  William Fugate and James Overton appear before the court and state that they are personally acquainted with both Joel and Elijah.

Deed – October 3, 1845, deed between Elijah Vannoy of Hawkins County and Joel Vanoy of Claiborne to William Overton, for $250, a tract of land of 100 acres granted by the state of Tennessee ot Elijah Vannoy Senr No 16456, Rheas line, Overton’s line.  Elijah Vanoy signs with his mark, Joel signs with a signature, witnessed by William Fugate, Muhlenburg Overton and James Overton.

Claiborne County Marriage Book 2 page 78 records that Joel Vannoy, at age 33, married Phoebe Crumley on January 18, 1845.

Elijah Vannoy died after 1850 but before 1860 and oral history tells us that Joel Vannoy, the son of Elijah took over the family farm after his father’s death.  We now know that this isn’t true – Elijah lost it to debt but Joel still had his land in Hancock County, adjacent his father’s land.

This part of Hancock County is very steep. On one side of Mulberry Gap Road, Mulberry Creek runs alongside the road, and on the other side of the road the mountains rise straight up from the roadside.

Mulberry Gap road and creek

Every so often, a little stream runs down those steep hills and under Mulberry Gap road to join Mulberry Creek. The land selected by Elijah and Joel Vannoy was alongside one of those little creeks that bisected the hillsides of mountains, across the road from the house shown above. There wasn’t a flat area anyplace.

Entrance on Mulberry Gap to Vannoy land

The first mention of Joel in the court notes is an entry in 1842 where he and his father are both assigned as road hands on Mulberry Road from Sumpter Mill to the widow Rice’s, on the Rice end of the road.

In the 1850 Claiborne County census, Joel is shown as a farmer, born in Tennessee, age 37, with real estate worth $200, wife Pheby, age 32, born in Virginia, and three children, Sarah Jane age 4, Elizabeth age 3 and William G. age 1.

Vannoy 1850 census

Things are pretty much the same in 1860, except Joel now has $1200 in real estate and $400 in personal funds.  He’s 10 years older, of course, still farming and now has 6 children.

But then, all hell broke loose in Hancock County with the outbreak of the Civil War – a war that was anything but Civil.

According to Essie Marsee, Joel was a Confederate sympathizer.  I’m surprised that he did not serve, because he would have been about 40 years old at that time.  If he did serve, he would not have been recorded on the 1890 Veteran’s census, because that document only recorded Union Veterans.

This part of Hancock County is quite famous for Rebel Holler, an area just down Mulberry Gap road that actually wraps around behind Joel’s land.  Rebel Holler is where, depending on the version of the story you like, either there was a cell of Southern Rebels living there and hung Yankees, or a band of Southern Rebels was hung there after discovering they were trapped in Rebel Holler. Local lore tells us that this area is still quite haunted and people take photos of the ghosts that appear.  You’ll only think this is amusing until you see, or hear, one for yourself.  Rebel Holler was suspiciously close to Joel Vannoy’s land.  And then there is the story of Phebe Crumley Vannoy’s niece, her husband and baby who were murdered for being Northern sympathizers…

Hancock County saw quite a bit of Civil War activity, if not any major battles, and everyone was afraid of the soldiers from both sides of the war.  Another letter from a Crumley family member written in the early 1900s talks about living in Greene County, south of Hancock, where the soldiers passed through frequently and having to hide anything of value, “sich as horses, saddles and cowes in the woods or anywhere they could be hid.”  The young boys acted at watchmen to keep an eye out for any soldiers coming their way.

The Vannoy family had an advantage. While the little stream was inviting to the bands of hungry and thirsty soldiers that passed through, the extremely rough and steep terrain held secrets not easily discovered.

Vannoy Hancock wooded land

When soldiers were known to be in the area, the Vannoy children were told to take the livestock and go up high into those mountains into the cave and stay there until someone came for them. They had an area set up where they could live for some time, if not comfortably, then at least safely. They must have taken water to the cave before they needed to take shelter.

The children did as they were told, and they could hear the soldiers making a shambles of their house and farm, but they were never discovered, and they kept their livestock and everything of value to the family. That land might not have been very good farmland, given its slope, but I’m sure the family was immensely grateful for the protection it afforded them when they needed it most.

Not long after the end of the Civil War, Joel moved to the Little Sycamore area of Claiborne County.  His children were marrying neighbors before 1870, so he had to have been in that vicinity in order for his children to meet the neighbors.

I wonder why Joel moved from Hancock to Claiborne County.  He was no spring chicken – he would have been in his 50s and he would have had to build a house. Not to be deterred, he did just that – Joel’s house as it stood in the 1990s is shown below.

Joel Vannoy home

The 1870 Claiborne County census looks like Joel is doing quite well.  He owns $1300 worth of land and $600 in personal assets.  He is age 51 and Phebe is 50.  Four children are still at home ranging in age from 10-21.  Daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law Lazarus Estes live right next door.

Land was not conveyed to Joel Vannoy until 1872 in Little Sycamore – and when it was, it was conveyed to his wife and children.  This 465 acre tract was not trivial, by any means, and covers about three quarters of a mile by about a mile, square.  In essence, based on google maps and the legend, displayed in feet, Joel would have owned pretty much all of Vanoy Hollow along Vannoy Road and possibly the end of Estes Road too, where Lazarus Estes and Joel’s daughter lived.

Vannoy road

This “odd” transaction is simply the dark foreshadowing of things to come.  Joel was age 60 by now, and obviously from the real estate transactions involved, was not doing well.  I wrote about the land transactions in detail in the article about his daughter Elizabeth Vannoy who married Lazarus Estes.

Based on these deeds, the children did wind up with chunks of Joel’s land, as Essie Marsee mentioned. I’m still “missing” deeds for 65 acres, but we certainly have enough information to get the drift of what was going on.

In 1877, Joel’s daughter, Mary L. Vannoy, age 26, died just a few days after her birthday.  She had never married.  Mary is buried in the Pleasant View Cemetery, close to Joel’s home, at the intersection of Bailey Hollow and West Teller Roads, behind the Pleasant View Church.

Pleasant View aerial

The 1880 census shows Joel, age 67, farming.  Again, he tells us he was born in Tennessee.  Phebe has the flux, which was the term for diarrhea.  Bloody flux was dysentery, although sometimes flux meant bloody flux.  Regardless, she survived.

Phebe and Joel have their youngest daughter and son, James H, his wife Matilda and their two young children living with them.  Joel’s son William George Vannoy lives next door and daughter Elizabeth Vannoy Estes lives very close by.

In 1886, when Joel was about 74, the bottom fell out for him – and for the rest of the family too.

On Oct. 4, 1886, Lazarus Estes was granted $26 by the court for “conveying Joel Vannoy to the hospital for the insane.”  That hospital was opened in Knoxville in May of that year.

Per Lakeshore Mental Health Institute, formerly Eastern State Mental Hospital, Joel Vannoy age 74 was admitted July 22, 1886 for “preachin’, swearin’, and threatening to fight.”  He had 5 living children and 2 dead.  He was a Baptist and was a farmer.  He was discharged May 16, 1888.  The person listed to correspond with was James Vannoy.

We know that Joel’s daughter, Mary, died in 1877, but Joel’s other deceased child is heretofore unknown.  In the census, there is a 5 year gap between Mary born in 1851 and James Hurvey born in 1856.  That is likely the place of the child that died sometime after his or her birth and before the 1860 census.  There is also a 3 and a half year gap between James Hurvey and Nancy.  It’s possible that they lost 3 children.  Some people didn’t count if a child was stillborn or died very shortly after birth.  Many times, children weren’t named until the parents felt relatively sure the child would survive, at least initially.  Did the deaths of Joel’s children add to the strain and set of circumstances that would produce mental illness so serious that he would have to be institutionalized?

Uncle George, in the 1980s, said: “Joel lost his mind.  He said something unkind (told a female she was a prostitute for walking on the road alone) to a lady during a walk and she kicked him in the crotch.  The family kept Joel in one end of the house with straw by the fireplace and had to keep a fire in it to keep him warm.”  There were two fireplaces in Joel’s house – one in each end.  The rest of the family lived in the other side of the house.  Someone had to stay with Joel at all times for fear he would burn the house down.

Joel Vannoy house fireplace

This fireplace looks to be original, while the fireplace on the other end of the house looks to have been rebuilt.

Joel Vannoy house second fireplace

From the history of Knoxville, it tells us that persons thought to be dangerously insane were locked in jail or sent to a state hospital near Nashville.  The legislature established Eastern State Hospital for the Insane at Lyons View, near Knoxville, in 1873, but it was 13 years before the hospital was ready to receive patients.  On March 17, 1886 a special train from Nashville with what the Knoxville Chronicle called “forty-nine madmen” arrived at Erin station and unloaded the first inmates.  A crowd of hundreds gathered to view the unfortunates but the Chronicle reported that “it was the worst disappointed crowd one ever saw” adding that “it would be hard to get a crowd of sane men together who would behave themselves as nicely as they did.”  Thus began the history of Eastern State Hospital which became a major Knoxville institution providing not only care for the mentally ill but also employment for many people in the area.  It was where Joel would live for two years of his life.  His treatments included dunking in cold tubs of water.  And Joel was not the only Vannoy from this family to have been a patient in that hospital.

Nearly 60 years later, in the 1940s, Joel’s great-grandson, William Sterling Estes, would work in that same establishment.  I wonder if he knew the family had a bit of history there.

To put things in perspective, in Knoxville the 1880s, livestock roamed the streets at will and some alleys were hog wallows rather than passages.  Many bitter debates raged in the council about regulating unpenned livestock.  It wasn’t until 1890 that council voted to outlaw cows on the city streets and it was said that “no one question had ever caused more different attempts to frame it into a law in this city than the Cow Ordinance.”  The streets had been paved with cobblestones in the 1850s but that merely prevented bottomless mud holes in wet weather.  The streets were either muddy or dusty and it wasn’t until 1893 that paving began with bricks.

Knoxville doesn’t sound like a pleasant place even without being cooped up for nearly two years in a mental institution.  Did Joel have any concept of why he was there or did he simply feel abandoned?  Did he have the capacity to understand or was he simply too ill?

My heart goes out to Joel, who was obviously ill, Phebe who had to deal with it the best she could, and his other family members as well who made the best of a bad situation – and took care of Joel the best way they could.  It would have been an overwhelming situation for all concerned.  It sounds like many pitched in to help though, which is what family is all about.  You can always tell who is true family, because the rest disappear when the going gets rough – both then and now.  Some things never change.

Joel came home to Vannoy Holler in 1888, at age 76.  I don’t know if he behaved differently or not, but regardless, he remained at home until he died on January 8, 1895, seven years later.  I’m sure Vannoy Holler never looked better to anyone that Joel returning from Knoxville.  If he didn’t kiss the ground, I’m sure he wanted to!

Joel was twice buried.  I don’t know why he was buried where he was originally, nor do I know where the original burial took place.  What I do know is that in old newspaper clippings, I found an article that said Phoebe had him “dug up and buried where she wanted him to be.”  Perhaps she wanted him to be near their daughter, Mary.  Why she didn’t have him buried there in the first place will always remain a mystery.  Clearly, there was some drama of some sort taking place.

Joel Vannoy marker

Turns out, that “someplace” where she wanted Joel’s grave is right on the edge of the road by Pleasant View Church and Phebe was later buried next to Joel.  This cemetery is also known as Venable Cemetery and it is just behind the Pleasant View Church on West Teller Road.  The church had not yet been constituted at that time, and the name wasn’t changed from Venable to Pleasant View cemetery until some time later, in the 1900s.

Vannoy markers Venable Cem

This also means that Joel and Phebe likely attended Little Sycamore Missionary Baptist Church.  Little Sycamore was the church closest to where they lived, and the membership includes a large number of both McNiels and Vannoys.  I have not had the opportunity to review the original church minutes, although I would certainly love to.

The separation of Missionary Baptist Churches from the Primitive Baptists was due to a number of doctrinal issues, such as predestination, foot washing, disbelief in missions and universalism, the belief in the non-existence of a hell.  Baptists throughout the years have adhered to the fundamental principle of the complete independence of the worshipping congregation.  Alexander Campbell did much to create disunity among Baptists as well as other denominations by his teaching, among other things, that baptism was essential to salvation. (“Be dipped or be damned.”) and infant Baptism.  Fixed salaries for pastors was also a factor in the separation movement.

One of the first Missionary Baptist Churches to separate from Big Springs Primitive Baptist Church was Little Sycamore, which was organized in 1840.

The present church building was built in 1851, so this is the same building where Joel, Phebe and their children would probably have worshipped.

In the 1870s, the church was also used as a school.  While this was too late for Joel’s children, it’s likely his grandchildren attended.

Joel Vannoy and Phebe Crumley had the following children:

  • Sarah Jane Vannoy born December 1, 1845, died April 24, 1926, married John Nunn.
  • Elizabeth “Betty” Ann Vannoy born June 23, 1847, died October 25, 1918, married Lazarus Estes.
  • William George Vannoy born March 31, 1849, died September 12, 1895, Montague County, TX, married Elizabeth Ann Estes.
  • Mary L. Vannoy born May 4, 1851, died May 18, 1877, never married.
  • James Hurvey Vannoy born February 4, 1856, died November 11, 1848, married Matilda Jane Venable, Minnie Sanders and Martha Ann Lewis.
  • Nancy E. Vannoy born September 5, 1859, died August 1940, married James Nelson “Nat” Venable.

vannoy siblings

This undated photo is of the Vannoy siblings, left to right, Nancy Vannoy Venable, James Hurvey Vannoy and Elizabeth Vannoy Estes.

Joel’s DNA

Harold vannoy

Back in the 1980s, I met my cousin, Harold Vannoy.  Harold is an engineer and he and I had several traits in common, which made both of us wonder what we had inherited from our Vannoy line.  Doesn’t Harold look a lot like his great-grandfather, James Hurvey?

It would be another 2 decades before we could answer any questions about inheritance – and still today – we can’t answer that particular question.

When Y DNA testing first became available, Harold not only stepped up to have his Y DNA tested to represent our Vannoy line, but he also stepped up to co-administer the Vannoy DNA project.  Harold is a wonderful cousin!!!

We discovered that our line falls into haplogroup I-M233.  By our line, I mean those descend from the Wilkes County Vannoy family whose common known ancestor is John Vannoy (or Van Hoy) the immigrant ancestor born sometime between 1744 and 1658 and who died in 1699 on Staten Island.  He married Rachel Cornwall and they had 3 male sons, all of whom married and reproduced.

There are also a number of other men who have tested and who match this particular group, but don’t know how they track back to John Vannoy, if in fact they do.

Vannoy dna project

Establishing the Vannoy DNA project was exciting for the family for two reasons.

First, it allowed us to confirm that indeed, Joel’s father, Elijah was a biological Vannoy descended from John.  There was some question about this, because we could not directly attribute him to one of 4 Vannoy men living in Wilkes County at the time Elijah was born, but that pesky question has been resolved now for over a decade – thanks to Harold.

Second, it confirms the Y DNA of John Vannoy or Van Hoy, through multiple sons descendants, even though the man has been dead for 316 years – and we didn’t even have to dig him up!

So now, as a family, we know that any Vannoy male who tests and matches this group of men somehow descends somehow from this line.

You might notice that I don’t have any origin for John Van Hoy.  He have rumors – but nothing more.  Confirming John’s DNA also allows us to hope that another Vannoy, Van Hoy or Vannoise from Europe, or with ancestors from a known location in Europe, will test one day and match our group.

Hope springs eternal – and even if that doesn’t happen until Harold and I are both on the other side where we will know not only the answers, but our ancestors (that’s my dream of Heaven anyway), Harold’s Y DNA test, along with the other Vannoy men, keeps on giving forever!!!


One of the great things about publishing articles like this is that people get in touch with you, and sometimes have knowledge of new information.

In 1860, Joel Vannoy’s wife’s sister’s husband, Edward Walker, died.  In 1862 an estate sale was held and two items of value were auctioned – a young female slave and Edward’s land, except for his wife’s dower rights.

The Walker family was beginning what would be a very long legal process in which everyone pretty much sued everyone else – and it lasted for decades, including through the Civil War.  For those interested in Edward Walker and his wives, Mahala Tussey and Sarah (Sallie) Crumley, Philip Walker has written a wonderful summary of events.

Phillip was also kind enough to share a chancery suit with me.  In that suit, I discovered that Joel Vannoy, in April 1862, signed as surety, meaning bond, for Robert Woodson who purchased the slave at Edward Walker’s estate sale.  Woodson bid $800 and a note was taken for a period of 2 years, at which time he was to pay the balance.  Obviously, during this time, the Civil War interfered and clearly, Woodson no longer owned Tilda, the slave, because she would have been freed.  Either he couldn’t or wouldn’t pay the debt, but the court ruled that a debt is a debt, regardless.  These court notes are from 1865 after the Union is in control of the government.  The Civil War ended in April of 1865 and for much of this time, the local governments in this region were virtually nonfunctional.  Furthermore, everyone had an allegiance and Hancock County in particular was severely split between the north and south – and everyone felt very strongly about their position.  To make matters worse, marauding bands of soldiers were problematic throughout the county and lawlessness was rampant – as was hunger.  By the end of 1865, these families were only beginning to recover.

In December of 1865, the court ordered the sheriff of both Hancock and Claiborne Counties to confiscate the assets of both Robert Woodson and Joel Vanoy (sic) since Joel was Woodson’s security on the note for Tilda in 1862.  The total owed at that point was $982.94, including costs.

It is unclear in subsequent court proceedings how much they confiscated, if anything, and what happened.

I suspect, strongly, that the reason the Claiborne County sheriff was involved is because Joel Vannoy had already sold his land and was living in Claiborne County.

This also sheds more light on the possible reason that Joel’s land in Claiborne in 1872 was deeded to his wife and children, not to Joel directly.

The documents pertaining to just this lawsuit, excluding subsequent suits, totaled about 220 pages.  There were many depositions, but never was Joel Vannoy deposed in this process, which I found odd.  To serve as the bond for Woodson, Joel was most likely at the sale itself and he clearly signed subsequent documents.

This is highly suggestive that by this time, Joel Vannoy’s mental condition had deteriorated to the point that both sides knew his testimony would be useless if it could even be obtained.

From Phebe’s perspective, this additional drama must have been both troublesome and weighed heavily upon her heart.  Her brother John, and his daughter were both dead, along with the daughter’s husband and child, and her sister was embroiled in what could be termed a life-long feud between her children and their half-siblings.  Eventually, it appears that one of Sarah’s children turned against her as well.  And Phebe’s own family assets were being sought and perhaps confiscated for the Woodson debt – on top of which her husband wasn’t doing well.

We don’t know why Joel was involved in the sale of Tilda to Woodson.  Was he making a political statement within the family, supporting someone’s position – or was he simply trying to help facilitate a sale?

Was the anxiety produced by knowing that note would come due and likely be unpaid part of what made Joel snap?  With the social and economic changes produced by the Civil War, Woodson was likely to default – meaning Joel would be on the hook.  Was this, combined with the wartime generated necessary paranoia part of the equation that would lead to the decline in Joel’s mental health?

Joel seemed to be well enough to sign as a surety in 1862, although there were allegations that adequate security was not taken on the Woodson note.  By the end of the Civil War, Joel is no longer in any court documents until the 1886 record of his commitment to the hospital in Knoxville.



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25 thoughts on “Joel Vannoy (1813-1895), Preachin’, Swearin’ and Threatenin’ to Fight, 52 Ancestors #72

  1. that uncle bud house in this email I show it To mine mom ,if the same house that house they used stop at an eat breakfast before walking on to school .?is that the vardy school . I would love to have a picture of the school one that’s not in ruin.

    Date: Mon, 25 May 2015 00:17:36 +0000 To:

  2. My husband has vannoys in his line that descend from John and I descend from Joseph Hiram Gilbert from that area.

  3. Are these Vannoys related to the Vannoys who eventually lived near Barbourville (Indian Creek), Knox county, Kentucky?
    Are these Estes related to the Estes who were eventually in Missouri?

  4. According to Family Finders, I am also related to the Vannoy/Vanoy family of TN. y-DNA shows that my family has gone under the surnames Calvert, Colvard, and Colbert. The Colvard side of my family lived in Chesterfield/Goochland/Louisa co’s, VA before moving to Wilkes Co, NC ca. 1770. Around 1800, some of the Colvard’s from Wilkes and Surry counties moved to Hardeman Co, TN: William Pleasants Colvard and wife Rebecca Davis: Siblings; Pleasant, Rebecca, Sarah, Janie, Elizabeth, and Wade Hampton Colvard (b. 1812) – not to be confused with Wade Hampton Colvard of Wilkes Co, NC b. 9 July 1805 who married Phoebe Vannoy, b. 27 July 1816 and married 2 Nov 1831.

    My family is also related to Chickasaw Colbert’s. James Colbert of Chickasaws was brother of Thomas Colbert/Colvard (my 4th GG).

  5. Pingback: Phebe Crumley (1818-1900), True Grit, 52 Ancestors #74 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  6. Great article Roberta.
    “Hope springs eternal – and even if that doesn’t happen until Harold and I are both on the other side where we will know not only the answers, but our ancestors (that’s my dream of Heaven anyway),” …that seems the only way I’ll ever know who the father of my GG/GF, Mason Vannoy is.

  7. Pingback: Elijah Vannoy (1813-1850s), Homesteader on Mulberry Creek, 52 Ancestors #76 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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  9. Pingback: William Crumley the Third (c1789-1852/1859) and The Crumley Curse, 52 Ancestors #80 | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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  12. Joel Vannoy is my 2nd cousin 5x removed. Thank you for providing information on him and his family.

      • I just checked and there is no match. We must be back too many generations. John Francis Vannoy and Susannah Baker were my 6th great grandparents.

      • I am related to ” Vanoy/Vannoy family of Tennessee and North Carolina.  My Family Tree DNA kit # is 130958.  I’m also on GEDmatch. FTDNA shows G.L. Vanoy and I have total cM of 47.43944 share 16 segments.Chromosome 8 – 59884959 to 72012449 = 11.6cM; Chromosome 17 – 5549039 to 6901871= 5.06cM. G.L.’s family tree has surnames Vannoy/Vanoy (TN); Shepard (TN); Waldrum (NC, TN, AL); Wright (GA); etc. He shows In Common With:  Surnames; Coffee, House, Gordon, Strickland, Oswell, Warren, Wrinkle, Powell, Thompson, Welsh, LaBrash, Davis, White, Pagano, Van Hooser, Hext, Bridgman, Miller, Kardell, Tiner, Burdette, Crowe, Pitzer, Bishop, Garner. Vannoy’s of Wilkes Co, NC were related to Colvard family.  (Exact y-DNA with me.  Cousins).  Wade Hampton Colvard b. July 9, 1805 Wilkes Co, NC, d. June 30, 1880, Wilkes Co, NC. Married Phoebe Vannoy Nov. 2, 1831.  b. July 27, 1816, Wilkes Co, NC. d. Nov 1892, while on a visit to Ashe Co, NC; daughter of James Vannoy and his wife, Sallie Shepherd. Children:    Rufus, m,. Whittington    Wiley, m. Severt.    William, m. McGlamery, 2nd Teague    Sallie m. Whittington    Rachel m. Whittington    Thomas m. Whittington; 2nd m. Whittington    Charles m. Whittington; widow married Thomas 2nd.    John    Jesse    James Richard A. Colbert P.S. When my 3rd GG Thomas Colbert died in 1846, his will was written as Thomas Colvard.

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    • How exciting. I love “meeting” new cousins. Maybe we share some of Joel and Phebe’s DNA too. Where have you tested? Do we match?

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