Susan Daniel, Rutherford County Historical Society, September, 2016
In the spring of 1779 Robertson and a small party of Wataugans, traveled to a site along the Cumberland River known as French Lick. There they selected a suitable location for a new settlement. Late that same year, Robertson returned with a group of men to prepare temporary shelter for friends and relatives, who planned to join them in a few months. The men arrived on Christmas Day and drove their cattle across the frozen Cumberland River. Crude cabins were erected for immediate winter housing, and a fort was built atop a bluff along the river. The fort was named Fort Nashborough, in honor of Francis Nash, who had fought alongside Robertson at the battle of Alamance in 1771. When James Robertson first set out from Watauga for the Cumberland to found a settlement, he was accompanied by seven other white men, George Freeland, William Neely, James Hanly, Mark Robertson, Edward Swanson, Zachariah White, and William Overall.
Brothers, Robert Overall, Nathaniel Overall and William Overall, born in the 1750s in Frederick Co., VA, came to middle Tennessee with James Robertson’s second party in the fall of 1779. Their sisters, Mary, who married James Espey (the original owners of “Espeyland” in Old Jefferson), and Nancy, who married Joshua Thomas, apparently were with them. After reaching their destination, they planted corn and prepared for a settlement near Sulphur Springs bottom, which is now within the city limits of Nashville. Most of the Robertson party returned to the Wautauga settlement to return again in the Spring of 1780, but the Overall brothers and their brothers-in-law stayed behind to defend the settlement. Early in 1780 Robert Overall was killed by Indians. William Overall was killed by
Indians on 22 January 1793. Historians agree that it was because of William Overall’s effective work as a spy for the colonists that the Indians gave him such cruel treatment. The brothers-in-law, James Espey and Joshua Thomas, were also killed by Indians. Of the five, Nathaniel Overall was the only one to die a natural death.
Robert Overall settled at the head of a creek that took his name—Overall Creek in Rutherford Co. Within a few months after their arrival at the Bluff early in 1780, Robert Overall, only 19 years old, while on a journey from the Bluff to Kentucky for supplies, was ambushed and killed by Indians. Robert never married.
Capt. Richard Ransom, who came from North Carolina in 1810, also settled near the head of Overall Creek. [Goodspeeds]. Overall Creek flows north and empties into the West Fork of the Stones River near Roselawn Cemetery between Murfreesboro and Smyrna. The head of Overall Creek surfaces south of Windrow in southern
Rutherford Co. and is probably part of the Snail Shell Cave system.
In a letter to RCHS in 1977, Eakins Overall stated that some have thought that the Overalls settled near Salem which at one time was also called Overall. However, there is no record of any of the Overall family ever living in that section of the county. About 1880 a post office was set up at Salem or Salem Crossroads as it had been called. It was renamed Overall because there was another Salem Crossroads post office in East Tennessee. It was named Overall because the head of Overall Creek was close by.
William Overall signed the Cumberland Compact, May 1780. Little is known of [Capt.] William Overall’s early life, but in 1776 he is found on the Wautauga River in East Tennessee joining in a petition “to the Honorable Provincial Council of N.C.” to be annexed to that province. He was on the 1787 tax roll for Davidson Co. He purchased 640 acres on Overall Creek, Mar 12, 1788 [RCHS Pub. Land Grants]
William Overall married about 1783, Susanna Thomas, sister of Joshua Thomas, who married Nancy Overall, and Anne Thomas, who married Nathaniel Overall. “On 22 January 1793, The Bench, or Bob Benge, the most daring and crafty of the Chickamauga bushwhackers, and Double Hear (beyond question the most cruel and bloodthirsty Indian in the Cherokee nation) fell in with a party of traders at Dripping Spring on the trace from Cumberland to Kentucky, killed Capt. William Overall and Mr. Burnett, took nine horses loaded with goods and whiskey, and made their escape. . . It was reported that Double Head cut and carried off the flesh from Capt. William Overall’s bones and carried his scalp and that of his companion to the Cherokee nation, and had war dances over them at Lookout Mountain, Willstown, and Turnip Mountain, his party having been enlisted from all these settlements.” [American State Papers, Indian Affairs, I, 436 ff.].
William Overall left a family of four sons and one daughter. An inventory of his estate was filed in Davidson Co. in
Jan 1795 by Susannah Overall, his administratrix. David Vaughn, may have married the widow, Susannah, as they are administrators of William Overall, deceased, and sold to Lewis Perkins 320 acres on Overall Creek, June 6, 1798 [RCHS Pub. Land Grants]. William Overall’s heirs were on the Rutherford Co. tax list for 1809, owning, 640 acres (R. Weakley was agent). CHILDREN of William & Susannah Overall:
1. William F. Overall, Jr. moved to Missouri in 1808.
2. Isaac Holmes Overall was found on the 1820 census for Rutherford Co. b. 1775-1795. Isaac H. Overall sold 100 acres on both sides of Overall’s Creek to John Smith June 17, 1818 [Deed Book L, p. 293]. Isaac H. Overall, age 60, & Sophia Overall, age 59 born NC are found on the 1850 Willkinson’s Crossroads [Dist. 7] Rutherford Co. census. Isaac H. Overall d. 25 Aug 1857, intestate, with Sophia Overall, widow. CHILDREN of Isaac & Sophia:
A. Isaac R. Overall of Texas.
B. Martha Jane Overall married 1836, Ellis Suttle.
C. Susan C. Overall married 1835, Edmund R. Rucker.
D. Lucretia H. Overall married 1841, Minos L. Fletcher
E. Cynthia P. Overall married 1st 1849, William T. Brown; married 2nd P.M. Sherman of Texas.
F. Cecilia Overall married 1st 1849, James E. Jones; married 2nd 1863, J. P. Floyd
G. Laura A. Overall married 1st 1848, James H. Kerby; married 2nd ? Summers of Cannon Co., TN
H. William S. Overall married 1843, Frances C. Fletcher
I. Jackson Overall, deceased at the time of his father’s will, leaving children.
3. Nathaniel H. Overall
4. Sophia Elizabeth Overall married Dr. John Price.
5. Major Wilson Lee Overall moved to Missouri.
Nathaniel Overall, while on a scouting trip in September 1804, and discovered the wild beauty of the country along Bushnell’s Creek, “the waters of the east fork of Stone’s River,” in Rutherford Co. He began purchasing land in the area, and is said to have built the first house with glass windows, and the first built with manufactured nails, in the eastern part of that section. Nathaniel, a close friend to Andrew Jackson, died about Nov 1835 in Rutherford Co. leaving a will [the original exists in the Rutherford Co. Archives] dated Oct 23, 1835, probated Nov 1835. He married in Davidson Co. Feb 26, 1783, Anne Thomas, d. about 1844. Nathaniel & wife, Anne, are probably buried in the Overall’s Campground Cemetery.
Nathaniel was considered a Patriot during the Revolutionary War when he signed the Cumberland Compact of Government May 1, 1780. Revolutionary War service records reveal Nathaniel Overall served on the 3 VA Continental line. He came with James Robertson’s second party to Middle TN in 1779. He was on the 1787 tax roll for Davidson Co. He was on the Rutherford Co. tax list for 1809, owning 1,200 acres. He was found as born before 1775 and head of a household on the 1820 census for Rutherford Co. When he first came to TN he settled at Fort Nashborough.
He later moved to Rutherford Co. and settled between Lascassas and Milton.
“In the year 1812 there was regular [Methodist] preaching at the dwelling houses of John Windrow, Thomas Jarrett, Charles Lock, James Rucker, and Nat. Overall. Societies were organized and log church houses built at those places in a very few years, at most of them as early as 1814.” [Daily News Journal, M’boro, TN, Apr 29, 1962].
CHILDREN of Nathaniel & Anne Overall:
1. Mary “Polly” Overall, b. late 1783, d. in 1849, married 3 Jul 1804 in Rutherford Co., William Ramsey, Jr., son of William Sr. who served in the Revolutionary War. Rev. War. William and Mary lived in the Bradley’s Creek area of Rutherford Co. William Ramsey, Jr. a Methodist minister, died 1833. Many of their descendants live in Gibson Co., TN. CHILDREN William & Polly Ramsey:
A. Eliza Ramsey, 1806-1895, married William Mathis
B. Anna Ramsey, 1808-1862, married 1831 John B. McKee.
C. Nathaniel Jefferson Ramsey, born 3 Mar 1809 in Rutherford Co., died 28 June 1871 Gibson Co., TN, married 1828, Frances Young Davis, of Daviess Co., KY.
D. Nace Preston Ramsey, 1812-1861, married Polly Ann Webb Davis, of Daviess Co., KY.
E. William Franklin Ramsey 1814-1866, married 1833 Nancy Knox, daughter of Squire (died 1816) & Susannah Knox.
F. Sarah Lucretia Ramsey 1815-1870 married 1834 Gibson Co., William Elder, Jr.
G. Nancy B. Ramsey 1816-1891, married 1833 John C. Berry, son of James Berry (d. 1815)
H. Blackman Asbury Ramsey 1818-1891, married Eliza Jett
I. Martha Ramsey, born ca 1821 married Daniel Waddley
J. Pauline Jane Ramsey 1825-1884 married 1st Albert Kelly; married 2nd ? Smith; married 3rd Rev. George Johnston
2. Robert Overall b. June 11, 1785 – d. 8 Oct 1862 (probably in the Cholera epidemic which was raging at the time). He married Dec 24, 1815 in Rutherford Co., his cousin, Mary Espy, (daughter of James & Mary Overall Espey) b. 1787 – d. Dec 24, 1838 (mother of 12 children – 7 sons, 4 daughters) [They are probably buried in Overall’s Campground Cemetery sometimes called Patterson Cemetery].
Robert gave military service with Capt. Robert Carson’s Co. of West TN Militia in 1814. He built his home on the waters of the south fork of Bradley’s Creek, containing 370 acres with the exception of “the boundary laid off for the campground (religious meetings)”. Robert Overall born 1781-1790 was found earliest on the 1820 census for
Rutherford Co.. He reported finding a black mare valued at $35 on Wright’s Mill, July 13, 1810. Robert Overall wrote his will 23 Jan 1862, probated Aug 1865.
A. Nathaniel Sims Overall married 1st 1840 Elizabeth G. Wood, married 2nd 1849 Dicey H. Crutchfield, widow of Edward W. Cartwright
B. William J. Overall
C. James Garrett Overall married Rachel Webb Davis, of Daviess Co., KY
D. Nace S. Overall married 1842, Permelia A. Kirby
E. Catherine Overall married 1835, William McCombs
F. John Wesley Overall married 1851, Mary McCullough
G. Narcissa Overall married 1836, Andrew Jackson Overall, son of Jacob & Nancy Overall
H. Rev. Asbury Dow Overall married 1847 in Wilson Co., Lucy Crutchfield
I. Louisa Overall
J. Mary Ann Overall married 1844, Thomas Wood
K. Rev. Abram D. Overall
L. Rachel Elizabeth Overall.married Landrum Stroop.
3. Rev. Nace Overall (1790-1870) received a Rutherford Co. Militia Commission with rank of Lieut. on July 13, 1811. He married Amelia Davis of Daviess Co., KY. He was a Methodist Minister. They had 3 sons and 4 daughters
A. Lee Ann Overall, married 1841, Daniel Donnell Smith
4. Rev. Abraham Overall, born 1793, Methodist Preacher, & Susan Overall, born 1800 VA were found on the 1850 & 1860 Rutherford Co. census. Abraham died about 1862 and Susan or Susannah died after 1860.
5. John Overall married 1817, Jean McLin, daughter of James McLin (d. 1819). They moved to Gibson Co., TN
6. Rev. Lorenzo Dow Overall born July 8, 1802, died August 28, 1834 “of a bilious fever”. He never married. He was a distinguished pulpit orator and was at McKendree Methodist Church in Nashville.
7. Sarah/Sally Overall born Sep 15, 1800 married John Doak. They moved to Texas.
8. James E. Overall married 1825, Lucinda Butler. They moved to Tipton Co., TN.
Mary Overall, born about 1762, died 1800, (sister of William, Nathaniel & Robert) married James Espey, born about 1758, died about 1813. James Espie/Espey, Sen. of Sumner Co. purchased 2 tracts (640 acres and 509 acres) on Hart’s Spring branch, the waters of Stuarts [Stewarts] Creek on the west side of Stones River, May 15, 1801 [see RCHS Pub. Land Grants]. He bought land from Edward Moore 5 Apr 1809. On Mar 4, 1795 he was executor of the will of Joshua Thomas [Wills & Inventories of Davidson Co., TN]. James Espey signed the Cumberland Compact, May 1780. He was born before 1766 on the 1810 census of Rutherford Co. and was found on the tax lists for 1809 & 1811, owning 1,149 acres. James & Mary Espey owned “Espeyland” in Old Jefferson. He wrote his will Dec 27, 1811 [the original exists in the Rutherford Co. Archives], probated 10 Oct 1813,[Espey Cemetery, Jefferson Pike] naming his wife, Catey Espey died ca July 1814, with Robert Overall, administrator.
Nathaniel Overall, Henry Belah, and William Espey were executors and J. Posey and Isaac H. Overall were witnesses. Catey must be a second wife (although a marriage record was not found), since Mary had died about 1800. In a deed description dated April 1813, one of the corners of the acreage located on “Stewarts Creek & Hart Branch” was “held by the heirs of James, Espey, deceased. CHILDREN of James & Mary (based on those named in his will):
1. William Espey (and his wife, Cynthia)
2. Polly Espey (m. Nathaniel Overall)
3. Rachel Espey (married 1810, George Goodloe)
4. Marget “Peggy” Espey (and her husband, Francis Youry/Youree/Yourie)
5. Elizabeth “Betsy” Espey (deceased) married William Bradshaw. Bradshaw grandchildren were mentioned in the will.
6. George Espey
7. Robert Espey, (born 1798)
8. Catharine “Caity” Espey (married John P. Thomas)
9. Sally Espey (married 1816, Obediah Byles/Boyles). Nancy Overall, born about 1765 (sister of William, Nathaniel and Robert) married Joshua Thomas who signed the Cumberland Compact, May 1780. He left a will dated Mar 4, 1795 naming his wife, Nancy, and daughters and son, John Thomas. He named James Espey [his brother-in-
law] as executor. [Vol. 2, p. 13, Wills & Inventories of Davidson Co., TN].