Benjamin Flowers

01 Jul

Okay….. I know!  It’s been a long time since I have posted anything in my blog.  This post may not interest a lot of folks.  However; I recently carried on an email conversation (several emails) regarding an ancestor of mine.  His name was Benjamin Flowers.  Benjamin married Sarah Wilbourn Page.  He was born in Buckingham Co., VA; but lived almost all of his adult life in Overton Co., TN.

The email discussion I had was regarding who his father was.  The other party believes that he was a son of an Anthony Flowers; who also resided in Overton (and Pickett) Co., TN.  2 different records provide Anthony’s approximate birth year.  Based on those 2 records; Anthony was born 1773-1775.

Since I absolutely disagree that Anthony was the father; I decided about a week ago to lay out all of the evidence regarding Benjamin’s birth year.  Based on the “all” of the evidence of Benjamin’s birth year; he simply cannot be a child of Anthony.

Since I wanted to get my evidence out in a place where it can be discovered by other descendants; I decided I might as well put in here.  So….. here it is.

Facts About Flowers (Mostly Regarding Benjamin Flowers)

Time to clear the air.  When was Benjamin Flowers born?  What are the facts!

Who was Benjamin Flowers?  Who was his father?  Who were his siblings?  I will try to answer some of these questions based on facts and evidence.

When was Benjamin born?

In determining Benjamin’s birth year; “all” records should be considered.  It cannot be based solely on one census record.  Here are the facts according to the census records for Benjamin…

1820 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is listed as 26-44 years old.  This place Benjamin born 1776-1794.

1830 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is listed as 40-49 years old.  This places Benjamin’s birth 1781-1790.

1840 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is again listed as 40-49 years old.  This places his birth 1791-1800.

1850 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is listed as being 57 years old.  This places his birth about 1793.

1860 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is listed at the age of 72 years.  This places his birth about 1788.

1870 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is listed as 82 years old.  This places his birth about 1788.

1880 Overton Co., TN – Benjamin is listed as being 93 years of age.  This places his birth about 1787.

SInce the 1820 census leaves an 18 year gap as a possibility; it is not of much help.  So…. let’s consider the 1830 – 1880 census records.  This gives us 6 census records to consider.  Two of those (1840 and 1850) would indicate that Benjamin was born after 1790. Specifically; one of those would lead us to believe Benjamin was born about 1793.  However; the other 4 census records (1830, 1860, 1870 and 1880) place Benjamin’s birth year as 1787-1788.

An analysis of the census records seems to provide strong evidence that Benjamin was likely born prior to 1790.

More Evidence of Benjamin’s Birth Year

Benjamin is buried in the Flowers Cemetery in Overton Co., TN.  His tombstone gives a birth date of 22 April 1788.  His death date (per the tombstone) was 21 April 1883.  This provides another piece of evidence which place Benjamin’s birth at 1788.

Regarding the tombstone of Benjamin; I received a letter from Jana Humphrey of Oak Ridge, TN in 2004.  In this letter; she stated that her grandfather put up the gravestones for Benjamin, Sarah, David and Rebecca in the 1930’s.  Because these stones were not place until many years after the death of Benjamin; we cannot completely rely on the dates given on his stone.  However; it is yet another piece of evidence that we should consider.

Tallying up Score

In considering the census records from 1830 through 1880; and including the tombstone of Benjamin; we now have 2 records which would indicate that Benjamin was born after 1790.  We have 5 records that indicate Benjamin was born prior to 1790.

More Evidence Placing Benjamin’s Birth in the 1780’s

There are 2 other pieces of evidence which can be considered in determining Benjamin’s birth.  In a book titled “Our Wonderful Overton County Heritage”; written by George Allen Knight; and published in 1972; is an article regarding “The Hatcher House” (page 112).  In part; George Allen Knight says “Mr. Hatcher came to the Upper Cumberland from Buckingham, Virginia (Buckingham County, Virginia) with James Henry Clark and Benjamin Flowers in 1804.  All three men built log cabins at first, lived in them, and planned the homes in which they would eventually live.”

In considering the evidence of this article; Benjamin is clearly being referred to as a man who came to the area in 1804.  This would indicate that he was likely above the age of 18 at that time.  Very possibly he could have been a little older than that.  Doing the math; if he was as young as 18 in 1804; this would place his birth about 1786 (or before).

Although books can certainly contain errors; it is certainly another piece of evidence to consider in determining when Benjamin was born.

One more piece of evidence is found in Overton County Deed Book “B”; on page 258.  On 20 Jan. of 1811; Benjamin witnessed a deed between Joseph Crawford and Anthony Flowers.  In the same deed book; on page 256; Benjamin also witnessed a deed between Joseph Crawford and Jesse Crawford on 29 Jan. 1811.  Although it is possible that he could have witnessed a deed as young as 18 years old; it was not common.  Typically; someone witnessing a deed would have been over the age of 21.  Doing the math; this would indicate that Benjamin was born 1790 or prior to that.

Benjamin’s Father

There are many folks who believe that Benjamin was the son of a James Flowers.  As proven in the Revolutionary war pension file of Roland Flowers; James was the father of Roland (died in Fentress Co., TN); and of Anthony Flowers (lived in Overton Co., TN).  Anthony gave a deposition on behalf of Roland’s widow, to aid her in obtaining her widow’s pension.  He states that he was a brother of Roland.  Also in the pension file; Roland states that his father was James Flowers.

Most people believe that Benjamin was a brother of Anthony and Roland.  I include myself among that group; but use the evidence to support that.  A small handful of people believe that Benjamin was a son of Anthony.  However; the match doesn’t add up.  In the pension file of Rowland Flowers; Anthony gives a deposition in 1834.  He states that he is “about 61” years of age.  This places his birth about 1773.  The Overton Co., TN census gives his age as 75.  This places his birth about 1775.  Given a birth year between 1773 and 1775; it does not make sense that Benjamin could be his son.

We do know that Benjamin was certainly connected to Anthony.  He did witness the deed for him in 1811.  It seems very likely that he was a younger brother of Rowland and Anthony.

Thomas Flowers of Overton County

Listed on the same census page as Benjamin in 1830 was a Thomas Flowers.  There are a small handful of folks that also list him as a child of Anthony Flowers.  Once again; the match doesn’t work!  At the time of the 1830 census; Thomas is shown to be 40-49 years old; placing his birth 1781-1790.  The 1840 Overton County census lists him as 50-59 years old; again placing his birth 1781-1790.  At the time of the 1850 Overton County census; Thomas is listed as 65 years old; placing his birth about 1785.

Since Anthony was born 1773-1775; it certainly does not make sense that Thomas could be his child.  Additionally; Thomas married Nancy Krunk on 25 Nov. 1813, in Knox Co., TN.  Anthony was in Overton County no later than 1811.  Why would one of his children go to Knox County to get married; only to return to Overton?  It is more likely that Thomas was already living in Knox County prior to his marriage in 1813; and came to Overton County later.

Because Thomas was living near Benjamin in 1830; it seems likely that he is closely connected.  Having been born about 1785; he is certainly of age to be a brother to Benjamin.

Since we already know Benjamin is connected to Anthony and Rowland (Benjamin witnessed 1811 deed for Anthony); it also seems likely that Benjamin was a brother of Anthony and Rowland.

In Conclusion

In conclusion; the Revolutionary War pension file of Rowland Flowers proves that Anthony was his brother.  Other evidence suggests that Benjamin and Thomas were also likely brothers.

Given the fact that Rowland was born in 1764; Anthony 1773-1775; and Benjamin and Thomas during the 1780’s; there is reason to believe that all four of these Flowers men may not share the same mother.  However; they certainly seem to share the same father.

I would invite anyone to share their own opinions.  However; in doing so; please provide your evidence (as I have done) to support your own theories.


Posted by on July 1, 2015 in General Genealogy


Tags: , , , , , ,

9 responses to “Benjamin Flowers

  1. Sherry Todd

    July 8, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Interesting info, Rex! Nice research! Helps me to learn.
    Thank you!

  2. kdhoeck

    September 19, 2015 at 8:36 am

    I have been researching Thomas and Roland Flowers for a few years now. As I am new at this and my progress is slow. There is a Flowers Family Bible for James Flowers and Theodoshia Bagby. The Thomas Flowers listed married a Juriah Cox 25 Dec 1818, Adair Co., KY. The bible record states this Thomas was born 16 Sep 1888, Buckingham Co., VA. The Thomas Flowers that married Nancy Krunk in 1813, Knox Co., TN was still married to her in 1850 according the census and according to the census he was born in 1785. The 1830 census says Thomas Flowers lives in close proximity to Roland Flowers, Arthur, Roland’s son and Archibald Story, Roland’s son in law. The other Thomas is still in Adair Co., KY in 1850. It is confusing but it is very possible to me that there are two different Thomas’ that came from Buckingham Co., VA. They either had the same father, in which case James had two Thomas’ as sons or more likely there are two Thomas’ and they each had a separate father named James. In my family line Colby Crawford Flowers marrys Mary Malisa “Polly” Flowers. Some family information says they were first cousins. Colby is supposed to be Thomas and Nancy Flowers son and Mary Malisa is supposed to be Arthur’s daughter. I cannot document the parents of either one of them. It is interesting to me that Colby’s middle is Crawford. Who might he be named after?

    • digginbones

      September 21, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Hello Kitty. The Thomas Flowers who was a son of James Flowers and Theodoshia Bagby was not the same Thomas who married Nancy Krunk. That Thomas lived in Adair County; and is found in census records there; while the Thomas who married Nancy Krunk was found in census records in Overton Co., TN. These are definitely two different Thomas Flowers’. My own research indicates that there are also 2 different James Flowers. It is also likely both did come from Buckingham Co., VA. But…. very clearly these are two different Thomas Flowers. There is no question about that.

      Now…. all that said; there are some who list your Thomas (the one that married Nancy Krunk) as a son of Anthony. However; that certainly doesn’t even seem possible to me. According to the 1850 Overton County census; your Thomas was born about 1785. The 1830 Overton Co. census lists him as 40-49 years old; which also places him born between 1781 and 1790. The 1840 Overton Co. census lists him as 50-59; also placing his birth 1781-1790. The 1850 Overton Co. census lists Anthony as 75 years old; placing him born about 1775. Additionally; in the Revolutionary War pension file of Rowland Flowers; Anthony gives a deposition in 1834; in which he states that he is “about 61 years of age”. That would place Anthony born about 1773. So… we have 2 records placing Anthony’s birth between 1773 and 1775. He certainly wasn’t old enough to father Thomas in 1785.

      Personally; I feel that Thomas was likely a brother of Roland, Anthony and Benjamin (Benjamin is my ancestor). That said; Roland may have had a different mother; because he was certainly several years older than Anthony, Benjamin and Thomas.

      As to documenting the parents of Colby….. the 1860 Jefferson Co., IL census seems to do that. Although Thomas was already dead by then; Nancy was still alive. She was living with her son, Colby; at the time of the 1860 Jefferson Co., IL census.

      As to where the name Crawford came from…. I cannot answer that. It is possible that either Thomas’s mother or Nancy’s mother may have been a Crawford. I do not know who the mother of either was.

      Hope that helps you some; and answers some of your questions.


      • kdhoeck

        September 21, 2015 at 9:19 pm

        Thank you for the information. Do you have information as to the father of Mary Malissa Flowers, Colby’s wife and supposily his first cousin?

        Sent from my iPhone


      • digginbones

        September 21, 2015 at 10:07 pm

        Since Colby is not my line; I have not researched him or his wife at all. I have researched Thomas some because I believe he was probably a brother of my Benjamin (and Roland and Anthony).

    • Joyce Slatner

      December 16, 2017 at 5:33 am

      In my handed down history, Arthur’s (and Polly Fite) son, (my great grandparents)William H Flowers 1832-1909 m Mahala Flowers, his cousin in 1850 and lived in Fentress County,Tn. They moved to Texas County,Mo. Arthur and his second wife died in Iron Co.,Mo in 1850. William and Mahala are buried on the land grant family farm owned by my brother/nephew. We find nothing about Mahala although she is listed with the surname of Flowers on her youngest daughter’s death certificate. I also lean toward Benjamin being a brother of Rowland, but would like to find the parents of Mahala Crawford was a common name in Texas County. This family is a puzzle. Joyce Miller Slatner.

  3. Joyce Slatner

    July 1, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Thank you for the time line. My Great x2 Grandfather is Arthur Garrett Flowers, 1789-1850 ? son of Roland and Anna Garrett according to our family history. . Anna lived with her son William in the 1850 Census of Fentress County. My Great Grandfather is William Henry Flowers 1831-1909. He married Mahala Flowers, his cousin about 1850. He is listed on the same page as Arthur and William. I am going to use your time line reasoning to figure out possibles and impossibles.

    • KD Hoeck

      July 1, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Thank you for the great analysis and creation of a timeline. I live in Virginia and have been to Buckingham. I am happy to go back to search for information for you. What do we need to search for for more evidence? I need suggestions of where and what to search.

    • Kitty

      July 2, 2016 at 11:53 am

      I found a little information this morning concerning Jesse Crawford b 1784.( Benjamin also witnessed a deed between Joseph Crawford and Jesse Crawford on 29 Jan. 1811, from the Overton County Deed Book”B” page 256;) It was from some of Ancestry’s family trees so the information may not be reliable but may be a hint. Jesse Crawford had a son named, Colby Crawford b 1811. I have not found any spouse or children as of yet. The family did not stay in Tennessee.


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