28 - David Haston - Distinguishes Himself as a Young Adult

Adjacent to a 2020 $45 Million Development Project

At age 25, David Haston became the owner of 111 acres in Knox County, TN.  Apparently, owning land was not something his father (Daniel) achieved until his mid-50s.  In 2020, a $45 million project was developed southeast of the property David owned in 1802-1806.  In fact, the Grassy Creek Shopping Center overlaps David and Peggy’s property.

This image is upside down on purpose. Grassy Creek, in the upper-left corner was flowing through David Haston's property in 1802-1806.

I’m not sure what the difference was, but David Haston stood out among Daniel’s sons.  He apparently was fairly well educated for a young  man who grew up in a poor German-speaking family.  Like all of Daniel’s children, he undoubtedly was able to speak English and German.  And somewhere along the way he received a decent education for his time and place.  It’s only a guess on my part, but my theory is that he someway managed to be associated with some of the prominent people in Knoxville–perhaps even the earliest political and civic leaders in the little pioneer town that happened to be the capital of Tennessee.  Maybe he served as an aide to some of them–I don’t know.  But later, when he got to White County, Tennessee, he demonstrated civic leadership and land ownership–as well as lay leadership in the local Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  And in Knox County, he was the owner of 111 acres–with a creek flowing through his property–at the age of 25

September 1, 1801 – David and Peggy’s first child, Malinda, was born on this date somewhere in Knox County.

October 28, 1802Where did David and Peggy live the first couple of years of their marriage?  With David’s family?  With Peggy’s family?  Did they lease one of the Charter lots and live there or rent a place in Knoxville?  We will probably never know.  But for a young man from a poor family, David must have been quite industrious.  About two and a half years after he married, David became an owner of 111 acres on Grassy Creek, northwest of Knoxville.  

David purchased 111 acres from John Armstrong for $300 on this date.  The tract of land was located on the east fork of Grassy Creek in Hinds Valley, between Beaver Ridge and Blackoak (Black Oak) Ridge, about eight miles north west of Knoxville.[i]  Grassy Creek runs in a southwest direction on the west side of and parallel with Schaad Road through the Knoxville Golf Course, crosses Oak Ridge Highway (Route 62) and then is joined by other streams as it turns northwest and flows through the Cheneworth Gap of Beaver Ridge and meanders from there into Beaver Creek, a tributary of Clinch River.

[i] Knox County, Tennessee Real Estate Purchase, Original Book K, 79; Volume C, Volume 1, 300-301.

1803The name David Hasston appeared on an 1803 Knox County tax list.  He owned 111 acres on Grassey (Grassy) Creek and his household had one white poll.  He was in the Captain Childs (Chiles) Company.[i]  When the earliest settlers moved to that area, they found an abundance of tall grass “higher than a man’s head” in the valleys all the way to the foot of Clinch Mountain.”[i] 

[i] Nannie Lee Hicks, The John Adair Section of Knox County, Tennessee. (Knoxville, TN: The Nocturne Garden Club, 1968), 12.

[i] “Captain Childs Company,” Knox County, Tennessee 1803 Tax List.

January 22, 1804This was the birthdate of David and Peggy’s second child, Mary (“Polly”).

Mid-1805 – Sometime between the January and October Knox County Court terms, David Haston was an auctioneer for the estate sale of Jacob Neff who had died in the latter part of 1804.  Jacob Neff was a grandson of Dr. John Henry Neff who lived near the Hiestands in Virginia.  He may have been a nephew of Christina Nave.  If so, Jacob Neff and David Haston were first cousins.  But Jacob Neff’s wife was a Strickler whose family was closely connected to the Hiestands.

June 11, 1806 – David and Peggy’s third child, Willie B., was born before they sold their Grassy Creek land and moved to White County.  Willie’s middle initial apparently stood for Blount. 

Willie (pronounced “Wiley”) Blount (born 1768) was a half-brother of William Blount, the former governor of the Southwest Territory.  Willie studied law at the universities that later became Princeton and Columbia before serving as a private secretary for his brother, Governor Blount.  At the time Willie B. Haston was born, Willie Blount was living in Montgomery County, in north central Tennessee.  “Blount was elected governor in 1809 and then reelected in 1811 and 1813.”[i]  He was Governor of Tennessee during the War of 1812.

[i] Anne-Leslie Owens, “Willie Blount,” Tennessee Encyclopedia, accessed October 6, 2019, https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entries/willie-blount/.

To name a son after a popular politician was not unusual, but Willie Blount was not yet governor of Tennessee when David’s first son was born.  David Haston and Willie Blount lived in Knoxville for several years at the same time, which makes me wonder if David had some special connection with the future governor of Tennessee—special enough that David named his first-born son Willie Blount Haston.

September 11, 1806 – On this day, one day before White County was officially formed from Smith and Jackson Counties, David sold his Grassy Creek land in Knox County. David bought the land for $300 in October of 1802 and sold it for $490 in September of 1806, a 63% increase in price in four years.  

November 11, 1806 – The Jacob Neff estate was settled on this date.  Sometime prior to then, David Haston had been paid (by receipt) $1.00 for his part in the estate settlement.  But, by the time the estate was settled, David had already received his payment and may have been on the way to or in White County.

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