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Family History - Charles & Rebecca (Johnson) Lones Family

Seiber Paternal Line   Fort Seybert    Charles & Lydia Seiber     Benjamin & Mary Ann Seiber   Samuel & Elizabeth Seiber   Philip & Catharina Seiber     Lones to Seiber Line (Cavett Sta Massacre)     James & Harriet Cox

Biography  Property  Last Will and Testament  Census/Timeline

A Biography of Charlie Lones (1812-1888)

Written by his grandaughter, Mary Dowell (1896-1993)*
*Items in brackets added for clarity or information

[Charles Lones was the ninth of ten children born to Jacob Lones and Mary Stickley Lones. Both Jacob and Mary had been born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, but each had moved with their families at an early age to Shenandoah, Virginia. The two married in 1786, and over the next four years, their first three children were born in Shenandoah. In the late 1780s, Jacob and one of his brothers made an exploratory trip to East Tennessee, and in 1790, Jacob purchased a large parcel of land in Knox County. By 1793, he had settled there with his wife and three children. With the passing of time, seven more children were added to the family, including Charles, who was born in 1812.]

While the struggle was going on between Great Britain and its former colonies, especially affecting the commerce, in 1812 a baby was born in what was then the backwoods country [of East Tennessee] who was to become the father of a large family. When Charlie, son of Jacob and Mary Lones, was a child Indians in this area were a common sight. It was during these days that “The Star Bpangled Banner” was born. ‘By the dawn’s early light’ scenes were much different here than when the song suffered its birth pains. Animals seldom seen now, except in zoos, were plentiful and supplied much food and clothing—among them were deer, bear, wild cats, foxes, and the smaller animals, such as rabbits, squirrels, ground hogs, ermines, weasels. Among the wild birds were ducks, geese, wild turkey and pigeons. The latter were here by the thousands, but have become extinct. When I was a child there were still bird nests here. A popular method of getting them in great numbers was to net them. The last deer killed on the place was over on the hill beyond the spring. This was in the memory of Charlie’s older children.

While Charlie was yet a child he had a tragic accident that left a life-time mark on him. He, with some other children, among them the little negro boy—Alex, were playing around a bonfire when Charlie’s shirt, a garment more like a dress, caught fire and before it could be extinguished his left leg was badly burned. Since sulpha and our miracle drugs were then unknown, all was done that the frontier doctor knew to do, yet the burn refused to heal. He carried this ulcer until August 28, 1876—that was more than 50 years. His leg had to be amputated being done at home by two Knoxville surgeons. He responded to the surgery and in a short time was around on crutches. When I first remember, the floors of the house, especially the front porch, were pitted from the metal cap on his crutches. The only remaining mark now is the door plate of the back door to the hall. All the other rooms have been refloored. We still have his crutches. Being a slightly-built person he was quite active. One day his family found him atop a shed nailing the shingles. He cared for his garden by working from a chair and moving it along as he progressed. His bedroom was downstairs so he probably seldom went upstairs as the original floors are unmarked. Then, too, they are of hard oak.

Charlie Lones never lost his poineer regard for hunting, only when he could no longer walk with ease. Once or twice a year he would take off to the mountains; since these trips had to be made on horseback they lasted two weeks or more. His favorite spot was Cades Cove. He loved his mountain friends and held them in high regard. They were often welcomed as guests to his home when they came to Knoxville. The family had orders that they were to be given the best of treatment. They would often stay several days where they enjoyed the best bed and the best food the family had to offer.

Though probably his sleep was unsteady due to his leg, his aim must have been true from a statement made by my mother [Sarah Lones Dowell, called Sally] who had told me that at one time there was a big pile of antlers in the backyard. Only one remains, and that is on the front porch near the door. That has been used as a hatrack probably for well over a 100 years; of course, some of those antlers could have come from local deer.

Although Charlie’s formal education was restricted, as we feature education, he must be rated an educated man. He was an avid reader, especially on religious subjects and history judging from his books. He dutifully put his name in them and often named from whom he bought it and the price of it, which often surprised one, comparatively speaking with prices today. A chief source of acquisition at this time was from migrant peddlers. An overall review of these books reflect the fundamental beliefs held by him. They were worn from study and often marked, I judged from the times read. For some reason, probably the distance from a church he failed to follow his father, Jacob, in the Lutheran faith. He was an ordained Baptist minister. I have been told that he was the first pastor of what is now known as Gallaher View Baptist Church; if this be true, I do not believe he ever pastored another church. His doors were always open to itinerant preachers of all faiths as they went from church to church. The monotony of the house was often broken by some young couple coming to be married.

He was concerned about the salvation of the negroes of the community and often held services for them. Among his books is a Teacher’s Assistant to be used in teaching Exodus (Irony of Fate). On the flyleaf is the following notation: “Sunday, July 12/85 The Second Nigger Meeting.”

Not only was he concerned about the black souls, but those of the whites as well. In a letter to his sister, Elizabeth, who had married and gone to Texas, he was solicitous of her spiritual welfare.

Among the books I feel are indicitive of the character of the owner:

  • Dictionary of the Bible 1868. “Charlie Lones Book, July 7, 1879. Price $4.00”
  • Universal Traveller—Goodrich (1836)
  • Baptist Manual 1835) Baptist General Tract Society
  • Evils of Infant Baptism (1852)
  • A Course of Lectures on the Scripture Types—Frey 1841)
  • Home Life in the Bible, Rev. Daniel Marsh DD (1877). Price $3.00
  • General History of the Baptist Denomination in America—Benedict (1850)

On September 23, 1841, Charlie married Rebecca Johnson (b.1/16/1823, d.8/26/1863), daughter of Jerimiah and Mary Kimberlen Johnson of what is now known as the Riverdale Community. The Johnson homestead was just across the river from the Johnson Bible College, which was established by Ashley Johnson, son of Jeremiah Crockett Johnson, who was the son of Jeremiah and Mary K. Johnson.

Charlie brought his bride to his father’s home by way of horseback. The home was on the hill above the spring. It was near a trail which led to Nashville. This house was a double two story log house What was later to be known as “the old house” was a big crib built out of the original log house. This is still in use [1975]. The new brick house was first occupied in 1857 but because of the war situation it was not finished until later.

The marriage was performed by James H. Kelley. At that time she [Rebecca] was 19 years old and he was 29 years old. Judging from the “infair” dress which is still fairly well preserved, her trousseau would have been a credit to anyone. It was a beautiful shade of purple taffeta, beautifully patterned in a baske effect, all work being done by hand. Until a few years ago it hung in the closet of the front living room where she most probably hung it when they moved into the new house about 1857. For better protection I have it packed in a box with moth balls.

To this union was born 9 children:

1. Jacob Kimberlin
2. Jeremia (Jerry)
3. Charles A.
4. Jeffrey G
5. Mary Ann [Married Benjamin Seiber]
6. Elizabeth [Never Married]
7. James
8. Samuel Richard
9. Sarah Rebecca [Married James Dowell]

The last two were born in the new house. Their first child was given the name of his paternal grandfather and Kimberlin after his grandmother, Mary Kimberlin.

Though the Lones family owned slaves as previously mentioned the two oldest boys went into the Union Army as volunteers. Jacob was only 19; Jeremiah was still younger. Jacob served over three years; Alex, the negro mentioned before went along as a body guard. Jacob rose rapidly in the ranks to captain. He was home several times on furlough. One time he carried behind him on his horse a little chair for his baby sister. It has served three generations and is waiting for the fourth to use it.

Jerry died after the Battle of Murfreesboro of pneumonia on 5/22/1863. Rebecca was so shocked at the news of his death she only survived him less than four months. Up until this time, even though the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, had been issued many of the negroes, because of no place to go, stayed on with their “Marster.” Old Aunt....... was called in when Rebecca realized she was leaving her family and promised faithfully that she would not desert the family of little children as she had been their Mammy for years. Sad to say her promise was of little value for soon after Rebecca’s death she moved on to other quarters leaving the household in charge of Mary [age 12], the oldest daughter of Rebecca. I was told by Mrs. Alice Reynold who was a friend of the family that she was present at the passing of Rebecca and that she died with tears streaming from her eyes, because she was leaving her little children. The baby, Sallie, was only four. [Thus at age 12, Mary Lones (Seiber) took on the responsibilities of housekeeper and homemaker for the family and surrogate mother for her siblings. She did not marry until age 29 when the youngest child Sallie was 21.]

Since feeling was so strong in this area against the Union cause, Charlie at one time went to Kentucky for some time. Again he was thrown in prison and kept for a while. The lack of care while imprisoned caused infection in the ulcer and continued to spread from then on. This was a tragic time for the Lones family—mother gone; slaves gone; two oldest boys away, one dead; house not yet finished; food scarce; friends divided over the question of slavery; father away for safety sake.

One must realize that clothing went from the sheep’s back through all the processes until it was a garment to be worn. The same was true to obtain cotton and flax material except that it was from the seed—even more work. Food, too, was not from the store, nor the freezer, not even out of home cans. Candles had to be made; soap made from lye from ashes; and grease was the common detergent, laundry done over a tub and a washboard was the only method of cleaning clothes. The cobblers annual visit when the family was shod for the year was anticipated as each pair of shoes was made to order. All sewing was done by hand. The cook stove was not yet a kitchen necessity, as the big fireplace in the kitchen indicated. Water had to be carried from the spring. Each room was heated by a wood-burning fireplace. So life in those days went on with diverse activities, requiring its own form of aptitude.

A photograph of Rebecca has been found and positively identified. Judging from her dress she was slender and of average height. She had brown hair and eyes and a rosy complexion, as remembered by her children.

After some time [1871], Charlie feeling the need of someone to help him, took a second wife, Emily King. This proved an unhappy marriage for all concerned. She was 27 years his junior and only 20 years older than his youngest child [near the same age as his oldest]. They had one child, Victor [b 1872], better known as Dick. A divorce ensued and Charlie was awarded the child who, I believe, was 7 years old at the time.

In Charlie’s older days [1881-1888] he was cared for by Elizabeth and Sallie. He lies buried beside Rebecca in the family plot near the house here on the farm. The big boxwood growing at the head of his grave was started from a sprig in some funeral flower.

The only book with Rebecca Lones’ name in it is The Mother at Home or The Principles of Maternal Duty. On the flyleaf is written: Rebecca Lones Book June 31, 1837. She had acquired the book four years before she married at 15, so one deducts that training for motherhood began early in life. Her Bible is also preserved.




The first home of Jacob and Mary Lones when they moved from Shenandoah, Virginia, to their acreage in Knox County, Tennessee, was a log house built on a hill above the spring. It was near a trail which led to Nashville. As the family of Jacob and Mary grew, the house also grew into a double two-story log house to accommodate the family of twelve. In 1825, when Charles Lones was 13, his mother Mary died. Through the years, his siblings married and moved out until by the time Charles married at age 30, only he and his father were living in the family home. This two-story log house was the house Charles brought Rebecca Johnson to by horseback when they married in 1841. Once the new brick house was built many years later, the original log house came to be used as a crib and was referred to as "the old house." It was still in use in 1975.

The family's slaves were used as laborers in the construction of the brick house pictured below. Even the bricks were made by the family slaves there on the property. The Lones family was able to move into the house by 1857, although it was not finished until much later because of the war situation. Ironically, Jacob Lones died (at the age of 90) during the first year that the new brick house was occupied.

At one time, the Lones home was used as a recuperation home for injured Southern soldiers with aides to care for them. One day a raiding party of Southern soldiers made for the smokehouse. One of the recuperating soldiers crawled to the window, leveled his gun, and told him they would be dead men if they went any farther. He knew which side of his bread was buttered, as that smoke house held the food supply for the household.

Lones House - First Occupied in 1857, Finished Later Due to War - Bricks made on property by slaves

Lones Property - Later known as Dowell Farm - Currently Dowell Springs (Commercial Center)




June Twen. 1888
In the name of God Amen.
I Charles Lones, of the County of Knox and State of Tennessee, being of sound mind and disposing memory but weak of body do make this my last will and Testament.
1st, I bequeath and give my soul to God who gave it.
2nd I request that my body after dead be buried in a decent and Christian manner, and this duty to be attended to by my Executor hereinafter named.
3rd I give and bequeath to my beloved son JK Lones the following described tract of land situated in the 12th Civil District of Knox County and bounded as follows, wiz: Beginning on a stake his former corner in a lane over a large post oak. thence running S51 W84 poles to a black oak, thence . thence with Beardens line N6 W23 poles to Rock, thence N42 E92 poles to a stake in his line, thence the same S38 E36 poles to the beginning containing 16 acres more or less. This with what I have heretofore deeded to him is to be his portion of my real estate.
I give and bequeath to my beloved son Charles A. Lones the following described tract of land situated in the 12th Civil District of Knox County and bounded as follows, wiz: Beginning on a stake corner of JK Lones, then with his line S42 W92 poles to a Rock. thence with Beardens line N60 W20 poles to a stake, thence S68 W16 poles to a stake at the Creek. thence N38 W23 poles to a black gum North of the road, thence N48 E114 poles to a hickory J K. Lones's corner. thence with his line S37 E6 poles to a black oak, thence S38 E30 poles to the beginning containing 25 acres more or less. This includes a lot of one acre more or less heretofore deeded to Charles A. Lones. This is to be his portion of my real estate.
5th I give and bequeath to my beloved Daughter Elizabeth Lones and Sally R Lones the following described Tract of land situated in the 12th Civil District of Knox County and bounded as follows. wiz: Beginning on a Post at Mary A. Luben (?) corner, thence with her line N55 E76 poles to a stake; thence 104 poles to a Spanish oak, thence N40 W16 poles to a black oak. thence S55 W64 poles to a stake . thence on Glenns (?) line thence with his line N31 W50 poles to a dead Spanish oak. thence N45 E104 poles to a stake, thence S82 E28 poles to a black oak. thence N66 ½ E28 poles to a stake James D. Davis corner. thence with his line S45 E22 poles to a stake. thence Davis corner .continued 88 poles to a gum. thence with Samuel Lones line S50 E80 poles to a stake C.A. Lones corner. thence with his line S48 W80 poles to a black gum. thence S38 E23 poles to Beardens (?) line. thence with his line S68 W102 poles to a dead pine thence N53 W50 poles to a black oak, thence S53 W2 poles to a black oak thence N31 W16 poles to the beginning Containing 178 acres more or less. This tract of land including the mansion and buildings where I now live. The reasons why I give and bequeath to my Daughters Elizabeth and Sally R. Lones so mucy greater portion of my Real Estate are as follows:
1st they are to take care of me during my natural life and see that I do not suffer for food and Raiment.
2nd the reason why I do not give or bequeath to Jeffrey G. Lones, James L. Lones, Samuel Lones and Mary A Seiber, any of my real Estate I have already deeded to them their portion.
I will and request that JK Lones, Jeffrey G. Lones, James D. Lones, Samuel Lones, Mary A. Seiber, Elizabeth Lones and Salley R. Lones each give Richard (alias/ Victor A. Lones, Ten dollars each when he arrives at the age of 21 years, and that Charles A. Lones give him twenty five dollars and a good suit of clothes it is also my will that Charles A Lones take charge and care of my son Dick (alias) Victor A Lones until he arrives at the age of twenty one years in case I should live until then.
It is my will that all my personal property that I may have or own at my death may be sold and the proceeds divided equally or the property be divided equally between all my children mentioned above and that they may all be satisfied and live together peaceably.
I hereby name and appoint my two Eldest Sons JK Lones and Charles A Lones my Executors of this my last will and Testament in testimony whereof I hereby sign this my last will and Testament in my own hand writing this the day of April 27 in the year of our Lord, 1888.
Charles Lones
Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of us
Joseph Knott
Samuel L Knott




1830 Knox Co East TN P29
LONAS Jacob Jr

1840 Knox TN, R527, B1, P18
Jacob Lonas male20-30, male 60-70 (Jacob 73, Charlie 28)

***1841 Charlie Lones married Rebecca Johnson
***1842 Jacob K born; 1844 Jeremiah born; 1848 Charles A born; 1849 Jeffrey G born

1850 Knox TN, Subdivision 15
LONES Jacob 83 PA Farmer; Charles 32 Missionary Baptist Minister; Pegg 28; Jacob 8; Jeremiah 6; Jefrey 1; Charles 3
Neighbors: John Kidd, Wm Kennedy, Walter Kennedy, James Massey

***1851 Mary Ann born; 1853 Elizabeth born; 1855 James D born; 1857 Samuel Richard born; 1859 Sarah Rebecca Sally born

***1857, Oct 17, Jacob died.

1860 Dist 12, Knox TN. R1249, P243
LONES (Lever) Charles 45, Farmer, Land $20,000, PProp $15,000; Rebecca 38; Jacob 18; Jeramiah 16; Charles 13; Jeffrey 11; Mary 9; Elizabeth 7; James 5; Samuel 3; Sarah 1 All born TN. All RW

***1863, May 22, Jeremiah died ; August 26, Rebecca died.

1871 (approx) Charlie married Emily King
1870 Dist 12 Knox TN, R1541, P230
LONAS (Lanas) Charles 54, Jacob 27, Charles 22, Jeffry 20, Mary 18, Elizabaeth 16, James 14, Samuel 13, Sarah 11 (Also farm hand)

***1871, Jan 31, Jacob K married Pauline Sharp
***1872, Jan 6, Victor born to Emily King Lones
***1876, Feb 1, Jeffrey G married Mary Looney
***1876, Apr 28, Charlie's leg amputated
***Bet 1879-1880 Charlie and Emily divorced

1880 Dist. 12, Knox TN, R1266, P479a
LONES Charles 69 TN VA VA, Farmer, Divorced; Mary A 28; James R 26, working on farm; Lizi 21, has asthma; Samuel 20, working on farm; Sally 18; Vick 9

***1880, Sep 12, Mary Ann married Benjamin Seiber
***1883, Jan 26, James R married Catherine Baker
***1885, May 31, Charles A married Serepha Caldwell

***Charlie died May 5, 1888
(1889, Mar 11, Samuel R married Cordelia Brabson; 1895, Feb 28, Sarah married James Dowell)