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Reuban Radford

Birthdate: (59)
Birthplace: Bedford County, Province of Virginia
Death: December 19, 1819 (59)
Morgan County, Georgia, United States
Place of Burial: Morgan, Calhoun, Georgia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Radford and Jane Radford
Husband of Elizabeth Radford and Phobe Gibson Radford
Father of Francis Shadrack Radford; William Radford; John Radford; Elijah Radford; Reuben Wesley Radford and 9 others
Brother of John radford; William Radford; Elizabeth Radford; James W Radford; George Radford and 8 others
Half brother of John Radford

Managed by: Sharon Marable (Bagwell)
Last Updated:

About Reuban Radford

DAR Ancestor#: A093372

He served in the Virginia Line of the Continental Establishment during the American Revolutionary War (Verified State No. 703, National No. 95303)

Controversy over the parentage of Reuben Radford.


    The Radfords were an ancient English family of note. The lineage of the family 

while in Britain is well documented. The Radfords were from Devon County and date back to 1066, when members of the family rode with William the Conqueror to victory at the Battle of Hastings.

    One researcher, James Radford, presented the following line. John Radford of 

Rockbere had a son of the same name from Chudley, both in Devon County. Robert was the third in line, from White Church, Devon County. His son, Francis, settled in Virginia around 1636. He had a son John, 1674-1752, that was from Henrico County, Virginia. Milner, his son, had another John Radford, who married a woman named Jane. This is reported to be the parents of Reuben Radford.1

    This pedigree derives from a much cited entry in Burke's The Landed Gentry dating 

from 1939.2 It is a mistake, however. There were two Reuben Radfords during the time frame of the American Revolution. One was indeed the son of John and Jane Radford but it is well established that the Reuben Radford of Georgia was not John's son.

    Much work on the Radford family history has been complied by Hester E. Garrett in 

A Book Of Garretts.3 This work has the respect of many Radford researchers but it unfortunately does not prove beyond doubt the ancestry of Reuben Radford of Georgia.

    According to this book, the Radford line of Perry County, Alabama began with 

George Radford of Essex County, Virginia. He married an Ann Massey and had four known children. Three were daughters. Ann, one daughter, married Charles Burnett. Elizabeth married Jacob Sherwood, and Mary married Andrew Enat. His son was John Radford. George died between 1739, when his will was signed, and 1746, when it was probated in Essex County, Virginia.

    John was married twice. His first wife was Agnes Maxey. They are thought to have 

had eight children. Susanna, born in 1717, married Richard Epperson. A son George, born 1740, died without heirs after 1818. Agnes, born circa 1724, married a Dr. Joseph Bondurant. Nancy married John Cannifax and Mary married John McCargo. Another daughter, Elizabeth, married a Mr. Blackburn.

    John had two other sons. One was John, born circa 1735. He married Jane Johnson 

around 1757, and had several children, including a Reuben Radford. This Reuben was born near 1760 and married Phobe Gibson. This is the same John and Jane given in the James Radford account, in which case the two do not collaborate.

    The other son, Richard, married a woman named Anne. She died after 1782 but 

Richard survived her until the 1830's. One daughter, Martha, has been fully documented. She married Jesse Dunkin. Others are thought to be Richard's children as well, but no substantial proof exists. Elizabeth, born 16 May 1761, married Richard Gunn. Henry was married to a Juliana, George to Agga. Richard, Julia, William, and Susan are others about which nothing much is known. Reuben Radford, E. T. Harbour's great grandfather, may also be this Richard's son.

    The John Radford, husband of Agnes, who may be the father of all these children, is 

said to have had a second wife, Elizabeth Maxey Barnes. He lived in Cumberland and Goochland Counties, Virginia, which is in the James River area. His will was dated 9 July 1772.

    Ms. Garrett included all of these people as the children of Richard on the basis that 

the parents of all the other Radfords in the area at that time are known. It is understood that Reuben, Henry and Julia were all siblings. To go further than that and connect them to Richard solely on the basis of that all the other Radfords of the area are accounted for is not very compelling. For that reason we will start the history of E. T. Harbour's Radford line with his great grandfather, Reuben.

    First though, another possibility exists for the parentage of Reuben Radford. A 

Jonathan Jones Radford was listed in the will of the above mentioned George. His wife was named Rebecca and they are found in Bedford County, Virginia, in the 1770's4 . Jonathan Radford is found in Pittsylvania County, Virginia in 1785. with 10 souls in his household.5 Research conducted by Dori Warnock on the Hackworth family, from which Reuben's wife Elizabeth belonged, calls for more attention to this possibility. Warnock has found only one Hackworth family in Virginia during the Revolutionary period. This was the George Hackworth family. They moved to Bedford County sometime around 1750.6 Bedford County appears then, to be the only place in Virginia that the Radfords and Hackworths are found together, making Jonathan a strong possibility for being the father of Reuben.

       CHAPTER 6
       The Reuben Radford Family
    Reuben Radford was born circa 1754 in Virginia. His parentage is not known for 

sure. Very little at all is known about him in Virginia. He was said to have been a Virginian soldier of the Revolution.1 Around 1779, in the time frame of the Revolution, he married Elizabeth Hackworth, a Virginian born in 1756.2 They lived in the section of Bedford County that became Campbell County in 1782. They had seven known children. Frances, the oldest son, was born around 1779. William, around 1781.3 Anna was born closely afterwards.

    Sometime after the birth of Anna, Reuben decided to move his family to Georgia. A 

most interesting record exists relating to this move.4 Reuben obtained a passport of sorts dated 9 October 1783 stating his intent to travel to the Southern parts of the U. S. It states that Reuben was acquainted with tobacco farming and had been a resident of Virginia for many years. It was signed on 21 October 1783 by James Calloway, who said Reuben "supported the character of an honest, industrious, sober man, is a good planter and a fine citizen." Calloway, had been before 1782 the county-lieutenant of Bedford County.5 Calloway states that he had been neighbors with Reuben for many years. This document shows that Reuben left Virginia around 1783 after living there for at least several years.

    When Reuben moved to Georgia with his family, accompanying him was his sister 

Julia and his brother Henry. The first record of Reuben in Wilkes County, Georgia is from 1785. He paid 1 poll on 200 acres in Captain Autrey's Militia District.6 He was listed 13 entries away from a William Hackworth.7 This could be a relative of Elizabeth. Two more records place Reuben in Wilkes County in the 1780's. The first record is dated 15 October 1789 in Wilkes County. Here he attested a deed for James Hart.8 Two months later, on 23 December, he did the same for Alex Patrick.

    In 1790, Reuben Radford was recorded as living in Captain Diamond's Militia 

District, Wilkes County.9 He owned 307 acres of land listed as third quality oak and hickory.10 He reported owning no slaves. His brother Henry appeared for the first time in Georgia in the same record. He was listed as a tax defaulter in Harris's Militia District.

    On 25 February 1794 Reuben received a land grant from Georgia.11  It may have 

been for the land that he already lived on and was recorded as being 297 acres. Shortly after receiving this grant, Reuben sold part of it. A deed dated 30 December 1794 shows that Reuben and Elizabeth sold 144 acres on Long Creek to Matthew Rainy. His neighbors were Rainy, Joshua Sanders, Hugh Mere, and Thomas Dunn. Both Reuben and Elizabeth left their mark vice a signature on the deed.

    In the 1798 tax digest of Oglethorpe, both Henry and Reuben are found living near 

one another. On 1 May 1798 in Oglethorpe County, Vina Radford married George Bradshaw. This was likely a daughter of Reuben's.12 The Bradshaws had been long time neighbors of the family in Georgia.

    In 1800 Reuben was recorded in the U. S. Census. Both Reuben, Elizabeth, and Julia, 

Reuben's unmarried sister, appear in the 26 to 45 age group. The entries for the children indicate that the couple had four daughters and five sons. Polly Ann and an unidentified female would fit in the 16 to 26 female category, Sarah and another unknown girl in the 10 to 16 female category. Two sons were 16 to 26. This should be Francis and William. Three males under ten would be Elijah, born around 1795, Obediah,13 born 1796, and John, 21 October 1797. Henry and his family do not appear in the census.

    Reuben and Henry continued to live near each other in Oglethorpe according to the 

tax digests. Henry also paid tax on land in Jackson and Clark counties in 1801 and 1802 respectively. Henry appears to have become sick and succumbed to some illness. He recorded a will in Clark County on 4 December 1804 and it was probated a month later on 7 January 1805. The will mentions his brother Reuben, wife Juliana, and children Peggy,14 Rebecca, Silas, and Nathan.15 Sometime after this Reuben became the guardian of Silas, who on 4 March 1817 was listed as an orphan.16

    Reuben and his wife had two more children while they were living in Oglethorpe 

County. Reuben Westly was born in 1803 and Samuel on 9 March 1806. Reuben and Elizabeth were both well advanced in age when their last child was born. Elizabeth would have been 50 in 1806.

    A series of deeds record some of Reuben's land dealings and mark the time of his 

move to a new home a few miles west of Oglethorpe in Morgan County. In a deed dated 7 December 1807 Reuben, of Oglethorpe, bought 202.5 acres, known as lot # 84, in Baldwin County's 16th District17 for 100 dollars.18 This deed was witnessed by Samuel Watters, the husband of Reuben's daughter Ann. It shows that the deed was made in Oglethorpe, though it was not probated until October of 1808. This suggests that Reuben moved his family west to a new farm in Morgan County in the early part of 1808.19 The following year Reuben sold a quarter of lot # 84, 50.5 acres in the southwest corner, to Joseph Crockett for 250 dollars, far more than he had paid for the whole lot a year before.20

    A tax digest of 1817 in Morgan County records the Radford Family living close 

together in William's Militia District, with several children having moved out of the house. Reuben and his sons William, Elijah, and Obediah all paid a separate tax.21 Soon after this William, with his sister's husband's family, the Watters, decided to join a larger group on a move to Perry County, Alabama.22 Land would be easy to come by as the Indians had given it up by treaty. They moved before 1820, circa 1818.23

    Meanwhile, on his family farm in Morgan County, Reuben died on 20 December 

1819. He was nearly 75 years old at the time. He was laid to rest in a family cemetery on the property that became the final resting place for many in his family. As William was named, along with John, as an executor, he returned to Georgia to handle his father's estate. Reuben's will was probated on 7 January 1820.24 On 19 November 1820, the executors made a public sale of Reuben's belongings. The list provides a good insight to the type of life that Reuben led. Most of the house hold items were purchased by William and Elizabeth.25

    Elijah was curiously not mentioned in the will of his father. He never married and 

when he died in 1865, he willed his property to the Methodist Church.26 He is buried in the family cemetery near his father. Frances, the oldest son, was not listed in the census either. As no record of him in Georgia has been found it is likely that he died in his youth.

    It appears that John Radford was left with the family farm. He married Eliza Pryor, 

probably around 1817 as their first born, John P., died in August of 1818, only 7 days old. John and his family lived here for many years. On 9 May 1840, just a week after the birth of his son Robert F., John died. Julia, Reuben's sister, died that year also and both were buried in the family cemetery.

    John's widow Eliza lived on the farm until her death in 1891. She buried two more 

of her and John's children in the cemetery, Robert in 1846 and Martha in 1849. During the Civil War the family farm lay in the path of Sherman's march north from Savannah into the Carolinas. Eliza begged Sherman's troops to spare the house. She was successful and the house remains standing today.27

    Sarah, the only other daughter whose name is known, married Reuben Bennett in 

Georgia around 1806. Bennett, a blacksmith, followed his wife's family to Perry County, Alabama. Sarah and her husband raised several children,28 and lived in Radfordville near the rest of her family. In the 1850 census, Sarah and her family were living next door to her widowed sister and elderly mother.

    Reuben Westly married Elizabeth Duke on 21 July 1825, and lived out his life in the 

Tallapoosa County, Alabama area. He died circa 1865.

    The youngest son of Reuben and Elizabeth, Samuel, also remained in Morgan 

County. Married to Theresa Goggans on 25 September 1827, Samuel died on 6 July 1879.29

    The mother, Elizabeth Hackworth Radford, lived to be a very old lady. It is not 

known where she lived immediately after Reuben's death. She is not listed in her own or her son's households in the 1820 and 1830 Alabama and Georgia Census.30 By 1850, however, she was living in Perry County. In the census of that year she was found with her daughter, Polly Ann Watters, the widowed wife of Samuel Watters, in Radfordville, the town named after her family. She was the ripe old age of 94. Sometime around 1855 Elizabeth Radford passed on. She was buried in a small family cemetery near her son William's house known today as the Stone Family Cemetery.31

       CHAPTER 7
    William Radford was the oldest son of Reuben and Elizabeth Radford of Campbell 

County, Virginia. Born in Virginia in 1779, William moved with his family to Georgia as a young boy.1 At some point the family probably was living on the land granted to Reuben in 1794.

    William married Nancy James, a woman about two years his junior, on the 17th of 

July, 1804.2 The marriage took place in Oglethorpe County. She was born in Georgia about 1784.3 Their first son, Reuben, was born about a year after the marriage. That year William appeared in the Oglethorpe County tax digest.4 Elizabeth, the first daughter, was born in 1806.

    In 1807 William was fortunate when he participated in the land lottery. He received 

two draws, both in Wilkinson County, Georgia. They were for lots 56 and 107 in districts 18 and 13 respectively. His brother-in-law Samuel Watters drew land in the same county.5

    Sometime in 1808, William's father Reuben moved to Morgan County, Georgia. 

William packed his family up and moved there as well. That year, another son was born. His name was Elisha. The first record of William in Morgan dates from 1810. In August of that year he served on the Number 2 jury.6 In 1810 he also paid tax on land near his father in William's Militia District.7

    William's family grew very large over the years. Susan H. was born around 1812. 

Temperance, or "Peggy," was born circa 1814.8 A son, John W., was born around 1815. Another daughter, Polly Ann, was born in the early part of William's marriage but her birthday is unknown. Though the dates and facts are vague, it appears that William's wife Nancy, died around this time, 1817.9

    Around 1818 a large group of people from the area in North Georgia that William 

lived in began a migration to Alabama. Included in this group were his sister Ann, her husband Samuel Watters, and his family. William decided to seek out his fortune as well for land in Perry County, Alabama was cheap and plentiful, so he packed up his family and joined them.

    A month after his father's death, on 24 January 1820, William was granted 160 acres 

of land.10 His sister Susan Bennett moved out to Perry County after the death of her father and Elizabeth, their mother, came as well at some later time.

    The land that William was granted was in the close proximity of what became 

known as Radfordville, named after him. Evidently William accumulated much land in his long lifetime. It also seems that William remarried had several more children. Mary, or "Winnie," was born around 1820. William T. came in 1822. Nancy J. was born in 1825 and the youngest child, George Washington, in 1827.

    As William's family grew larger, some of the older children began to move out and 

start their own families. On 22 August 1823, in Perry County, Reuben is recorded in a marriage to Sarah Wilbanks. In 1830 he is recorded in the census with a daughter under four. He and his wife are in the 20 to 30 year old category. In 1840 he is listed in the Perry County census two houses down from George Watters, of his aunt's husband's family. He is three households over from his father. He and his wife are in the 30 to 40 year group and they have 11 others living with them. He must have died in the 1840's as his wife Sarah is listed in the 1850 census as a forty year old woman alone with 7 children in Radfordville.

view all 19

Reuban Radford's Timeline

Bedford County, Province of Virginia
Age 14
Virginia, United States
Age 16
Virginia, United States
Age 19
Virginia, United States
November 8, 1780
Age 20
Campbell, Virginia, United States
November 8, 1780
Age 20
Campbell County, Virginia, United States
June 26, 1782
Age 22
Campbell, Virginia, United States
Age 24
Georgia, United States
Age 26
Oglethorpe, Georgia, United States