Joseph Cornelius Sutton
5th great-grandfather of Linda Louise Presley
Huffstetlet Tree #6, Page 12
Joseph Sutton seems to have been a man of honor and conviction who always had his eye on the horizon.
The Suttons Move to the Colonies In 1638, only eighteen years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, our Joseph’s gg grandfather, John Sutton, his wife Juliana Little Sutton, and their children: John, Ester, Anna, and Margaret Sutton left Attleborough, England and sailed to the American colonies on board the ship Diligent under command of Captain John Martin. The ship left Ipswich in Suffolk England in June of 1638 and arrived in Boston 10 August 1638. The Suttons were not to become Sittons for several generations.
Joseph’s ancestors settled at Hingham, Massachusetts, north of Plymouth. They were given four acres to farm. In 1643 John chose to deed his four acres to his son John, Jr., then took his wife Juliana and their three daughters to Rehoboth Island, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Rehoboth was a ”place of religious tolerance.” John, Sr., Juliana, and one of their daughters are buried on Rehoboth Island.
On 01 Jan 1660/1661 John, Jr. (our Joseph’s great grandfather) married Elizabeth House, and the couple moved to Scituate, Massachusetts where Elizabeth’s parents, Samuel and Alice Lloyd House, lived. John and Elizabeth had nine children: Elizabeth, b. 1662, John, Jr., b. 1662/1663, Mary b. 1664/1665, Sarah b. 1667/1668, Hannah b. 1670, Hester b.1673, Benjamin b. 1773/1674, Nathaniel b. 1677, and Nathan b. 1679. John was a carpenter and was over forty when he and Elizabeth were married, so that marriage may have been his second. Elizabeth, however, was the mother of all his children
One of John and Elizabeth’s sons, Benjamin, (Joseph’s grandfather) moved with his wife Lydia Unknown to Connecticut where he farmed and the couple raised a family. He, too, was known as a carpenter and he was described as a yeoman orhusbandman (two other terms for farmer.) For some reason, Benjamin changed the family surname from Sutton to Sitton. When Lydia died, Benjamin married Rachel Bigbie. Benjamin had several children with both wives.
Generation IV-Joseph’s Birth
It is with John, one of Benjamin and Lydia’s sons that our Joseph Sitton’s story really begins. As a young man, John left home in Connecticut and moved to Maryland where he was a blacksmith and a farmer. He married a woman named Elizabeth Pindell on 09 Jun 1729 in Queen Anne’s Parrish, Prince George’s Co., Maryland. Elizabeth was the daughter of Phillip and Elizabeth Holland Pindell. The Pindells were apparently a fairly wealthy family for records show that when John and Elizabeth’s first daughter was born, Phillip Pindell gave his new granddaughter (also named Elizabeth) a young slave girl named Sarah, aged five.
John and Elizabeth had seven children: Elizabeth Sitton, b. May 15, 1730; Benjamin Sitton, b. April 17, 1732; John Sitton, b. August 15, 1733; Phillip Sitton, b. August 15, 1733 d. 1788; Christopher Sitton, b. 1738; William Sitton, b. 1742, Culpepper Co., VA; d. Abt. 1823, Greene Co., TN., and Joseph Sitton, b. October 15, 1745, Culpepper Co. VA. Phillip and John were twins.
Family tradition says that John, William, Christopher and Joseph all served in the Revolutionary War. Supporting documents are available for William, Christopher, and Joseph. I was unable to locate John’s records.
Two of John and Elizabeth’s children would turn out to be of particular importance to us:Joseph our ancestor, and Phillip 1, one of the twins. (Unfortunately, there are enough Phillips in the family for the name to become confusing.)
Joseph’s Own Family
Joseph, the youngest Sitton child, grew up to marry Diannah Beck about 1766 and start his own family. Diannah was the daughter of Jeffrey and Lydia Phillips Beck , who had both been born in PA. Jeffrey’s parents were Edward and Sarah Beck. Diannah was born 14 May 1749in Bucks Co., PA, and according to some sources was brought up as a Quaker. Joseph and Diannah’s first four children were born in VA; then the family began what was to become their “moving” custom. They pulled up stakes and set off for new territory. This first time the choice was North Carolina.
The children born in Virginia were : John, b. 09 Oct 1767; Jeffrey, b. 01 Dec 1769; Joseph, b. 10 Jan 1772, and Phillip 2, b. 07 Mar 1774. (Several sources point out that Diannah was only 13 when she married, but the dates don’t back up this assertion)
Life in North Carolina
In North Carolina, Joseph became a member of the NC militia and served in the Revolution. Even though he was in the army, the couple managed to have two more children Twins Lydia and William were born 26 Apr 1778 in Orange Co, NC. Joseph’s brother Phillip 1 (also a twin) and his wife Hannah had already moved to NC, and the couple’s sons, Phillip 3 and John, were born there. There were probably other children in Phillip 1’s family, but their names are unknown.
Before 1780 the Joseph Sittons felt the need to move again. This time they moved to the Pendleton District of SC. Just how many of Joseph’s relatives moved with him is unclear. Since nephews John and Phillip 3 ended up in SC, they and their wives and families were probably part of the wagon train. Joseph’s brother Phillip 1 and Phillip 1’s wife Hannah also became part of the move.
Life in South Carolina
In SC, Joseph and Diannah added more children to their family; Thomas, b.13 Nov 1780;Jesse, b. 11 Mar 1783; Lawrence, b.12 Dec1785; Diannah, b. 01 Jan1788; Jehu, b. 4 Sep 1790, and Silvania, b. 5 Oct 1793.
Brother Phillip 1’s Strange Will
Now, Phillip 1’s importance comes up. Phillip 1 is of interest because of the circumstances surrounding his children and his will. Phillip 1 died in 1788, leaving two known sons, both married adults. With two such sons, one wonders why he left two parcels of land, one in Chatham Co., NC and one in Randolph Co., NC to his orphans to be administered by his brother Joseph.. Why not leave one or both of his adult sons as administrators? Why not name his twin brother as administrator? Why Joseph? I choose to take this legal appointment as a compliment to Joseph and his wife rather than as an attack on Phillip1’s brothers or sons. He undoubtedly chose the person he most trusted with the welfare of his children. The fact that this legal situation was carried out tends to indicate that there were minor children of Phillip 1 and his wife Hannah, but Hannah, too, must have been dead by this time since their heirs are referred to as orphans.
The Move to Tennessee
After staying in SC for a number of years. Joseph set his eye on greener pastures, and he and Diannah again packed up their extended family, including children’s spouses, grandchildren and other relatives, and headed off to new territory. This time the destination was Tennessee where they stayed for seventeen years with only grandchildren and more in-laws being added to the family. Nephews John and Phillip 3 did not accompany their Uncle Joseph to TN. John stayed in SC and became the progenitor of the Sittons in that state. He obtained a grant of land in GA and lived there for a time. Phillip 3 went to NC where he received 3,000 acres of land near Mills River, Henderson Co., NC. The NC legislature had offered 3,000 acres to anyone who would open an iron works. Phillip 3 established an iron mill on this land and both he and the region became quite prosperous.
Life in Tennessee
In Tennessee the family did well for seventeen years. They lived in East Tennessee, and there are family records in Blount, Cocke, and Sevier Counties. At age sixty-six, Joseph still had wanderlust. He wanted to move again. In 1811 the family—all of them except Thomas, who had died in TN, and Joseph, Jr. and his descendants who opted to stay in the East Tennessee--moved to Missouri. Joseph Jr. remained in TN with his wife Elizabeth Fox, (b. 1785-d. aft 1860) started a new family “dynasty,” and changed the family name back to Sutton. Joseph, Jr. and Elizabeth Fox Sutton were married in 1796 in Pendleton District, SC, while the Sitton family was living there.
The Move to Missouri
Joseph, Sr., Diannah, and their extended family made their new homes in Lincoln County, Missouri and the surrounding area. Many of their descendants are still there. Most sources indicate that we don’t know exactly where or when Joseph died. Some say 1832. We do know that Diannah died 08 Feb1842 at ninety-three years of age. A few sources say that Joseph died 08 Feb 1832. Now, if this is so, that means Diannah died exactly ten years after Joseph. This is a remarkable coincidence that so far as I know nobody has pointed out. Therefore, I surmise that that precise date may have resulted from a typing error or an error in transcription that has been copied and dispersed by others. Unknownor simply 1832 seems a more likely date. Exact or not, Joseph was probably about eighty-seven when he died.
The Sittons had apparently grown even more prosperous in Missouri for after Joseph’s death, according to one source, Diannah had a Baptist church built at the cemetery where he was buried. Unfortunately, it burned down. Diannah is buried in the Bryant’s Creek Cemetery of Troy, Missouri. Some sources say that Joseph was buried there, too.
Joseph Sitton moved from one place to another most of his life. By doing so, he was simply following the lead of his ancestors who had traveled before him looking for opportunities. Hopefully, he and Diannah found their paradise at the end of their journey.