Lieut. Francis Tennille, was the son of a French Huguenot, who emigrated from France after the Edict of Nantes, settling in Virginia. He was born in Virginia, in Prince William county, and came from there to Georgia in colonial days, locating in Washington county as a pioneer. During the Revolutionary war he enlisted for service in the Georgia Brigade of the Continental army, being mustered in as lieutenant of the second battalion, afterwards being promoted first to the rank of captain, later being commissioned lieutenant colonel. He had the distinction of being one of the charter members of the Society of the Cincinnati in Georgia. He married Mary Bacon Dixon, a daughter of Robert and Ann (Bacon) Dixon, and granddaughter of Gen. Nathaniel Bacon, of Virginia, who was a lineal descendant of the famous English family of that name.
Francis Tennille (1747-1812)
Spouses: Miss Pollard; Mary Bacon Dixon (1774-1848)
Francis was a Lieutenant Colonel. He was a resident of Virginia and Georgia and founder of the Georgia family. He was a member of the Georgia Society of the Cincinnati. He was granted lands for services in the Revolution.
With his first wife, Miss Pollard of Virginia, Francis had the following children:
1. Malinda (1790-1xxx)
2. William Augustus (1792-1864) - married Priscilla Jordan
3. Winifred Haynie (1793-1xxx)
4. Elizabeth St. Clair (1795-1xxx)
5. John Pollard (1796-1xxx)
Francis's second wife, Mary Bacon Dixon, was born in Virginia and died in Georgia. With her, Francis had the following children:
1. Francis Tillman (1799-1877) - became a colonel; married Ann Bell Jordan (1815-1848)
2. Robert (1801-1xxx)
3. Mary (1804-1xxx)
4. Algernon Sidney (1806-1xxx)
5. Augusta Caroline (1809-1819)
6. Alexander St. Clair (1812-1xxx) - he became a doctor
Lieut. Col. Francis Tennille (1747-1812) as the first settler of that name in Washington County, Georgia, moving there from Virginia before the Revolutionary War. He was a surveyor for the State and his brother Benjamin was his Deputy and one or both of these names appear on nearly all the old land grants from before 1790 to 1800 and after. He erected and lived in the first frame house ever erected in the county. The lumber was sawed out with a "whip saw" that is, the logs were raised on blocks and one man below and one above operated the saw. The house was still standing about 1900 five miles northwest of Sandersville and at that time was the homestead of Cullen Murphy.
He was a lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion, Georgia Brigade of the Continental Line. In several histories it is stated that General Howe, while at Cherokee Hill, South Carolina, after his retreat from Georgia, dispatched Lieut. Tennille with orders to Major Joseph Lane commanding at Sunbury and to Lieut. Aaron Smith of the 3rd Regt. of S.C. who was in command at Ogeechee Ferry "to evacuate their posts, retreat across the country and rejoin the main army." It is recorded as a matter of some importance that Lieut. Tennille successfully accomplished his mission & that "the order was received in ample time"[.] It is also a matter of record that Captain Francis Tennille and a number of other officers of the Continental Army were voted by the Georgia House of Assembly certain grants of land in recognition of their services to the State in that they "voluntarily did duty in common with privates of the militia under Col. Elija Clark"[.] It may be interesting to mention here the names of the officers who with Capt. Tennille received land grants "proportional to the rank of each" agreeable to the above mentioned ranks in the Continental Army. The list is from the Journal of the House of Assembly as published in the Georgia Gazette, Thursday June 9th 1785 and is as follows: Lieut. Col. John McIntosh, Maj. John Milton, Capt. Lackland McIntosh, Capt. Francis Tennille, Capt. John Morrison, Capt. Cornelius Collins, Lieut. Nathaniel Pearre, Lieut. John Mitchell, Lieut. John Maxwell, Lieut. Robert Howe, Lieut. Harry Allison, Lieut. John Peter Wagnon, and Lieut. Christopher Hillary. After the close of the War, Lieut. Tennille received from the General government a commission as captain by brevet, in recognition of his services in the Continental army. This commission was in possession of his son Col. Francis Tillman Tennille until after the civil war when a member of the family hoping to establish a claim sent it with a number of other commissions of Col. Francis T. to Washington where it was lost. William Alexander Tennille his grandson said he had often handled this commission and remembered it well. It was signed by General Miflin, Adjutant General of the Army. The title Lieut. Col., which he held, is supposed to indicate his rank in the militia. He was an original or charter member of the Society of the Cincinnati, as is shown by the records of the society. He was also a member of the Masonic Fraternity as we know from a demit [sp.?] from the Warrenton Lodge found among his papers. Major Joel Crawford who was Lt. Col. Tennille's attorney and who was with his son William A. in the battle with the Indians at Autossee, Ala. (Pickets History of Alabama) lived to a great age. He told one of the Colonel's grandsons that he "knew the old officer well and he was a splendid specimen of a survivor of the old Revolution and had a stately military manner"[.] Col. Tennille was twice married first it is believed to a Miss Pollard of Virginia; his second wife was Mary Bacon Dixon who was born in Virginia in 1773 and died in Washington County, Ga, at the home of his son Francis Tillman in the year 1848 - 36 years after the death of her husband. A copy of her will is on page 93 of this book and is a very interesting document.
Note: Benjamin Tennille was the brother of Francis Tennille (1747-1812). He had a son Benjamin who was with the army in Texas, which defeated and captured Santa Ana. His bowie knife is owned by Mrs. W.E. Dix.
Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia, Volume 1 by Howard H. McCall
(No Name)'s Timeline
Sandersville, GA, USA
Wilkes, Georgia, United States
September 11, 1803