A Timeline for Alexander Dacus and his Children

About this timeline

Three big books have been written about the Dacus family in America.

All of these books were lovingly assembled at a time when genealogical research meant getting in the car and driving to courthouses hundreds of miles away, writing letters and waiting unpredictable amounts of time for answers, transcribing documents while standing at a high courthouse table in midsummer(no copy machines). Doing genealogical research "BC" (before computers) was hard work, folks!.

We have a lot more sophisticated tools with which to do genealogical research these days - better access to original records, quicker response to queries, a wider base from which to gather information. We also have a new generation of genealogical standards which demand much more from us in the way of evidence. I feel it's time to reexamine this family applying these standards - thus this timeline with "proofs".

I've had to designate a number of items "Family Lore" because I can find no source reference for them. Ida Dacus, R. Warren Dacus, James Alexander Dacus etc. accumulated a lot of paper while researching this family. There may be real treasure in those stacks - bible records, deeds, early correspondence. Unfortunately I don't know where these records are or if they even exist anymore. If someone out there knows the location of any of these collections I'd love to know about it. If you have a proof for any of the items designated "Family Lore" please let me know about that as well.

I do have a personal agenda in undertaking this project. I am a descendant of a Dacus family that "disappeared" because of the difficulties of doing research a generation ago. "Two men with the same name in the same county" is a tough problem and we'll address it as we go along.I've included family group sheets for all of Alexander's children that I could develop information on, but in the interest of sticking to the subject I've not gone on further generations. Links to the family group sheets are placed with each child's probable birth year.

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The Timeline

1770 Alexander was born in Lunenberg Co, VA to John Dacus and Mara Atkins
In the 1850 census Tipton Co, TN, Alexander said that he was born in Virginia and that he was 80 years old so the birth date and the general location match. I can place his father John Dacus in Lunenberg County April 1758 and later(Order Book E, p. 67 - Jury, pp 75-76 - suit for debt) from assorted tax records so the Lunenberg location is good. From proximity it is reasonable to assume that Alexander is a younger son of John Sr, although he could possibly be a son of John Jr and first wife Susannah. Mara Atkins is "Family Lore" although there might be evidence somewhere in someone's paper stash.

1784 or earlier
Alexander's father John Dacus Sr. died in Lunenburg Co, VA
His property in Lunenberg was sold by his son Nathaniel in 1795 before Nathaniel left for South Carolina. The only way Nathaniel could have obtained the property is if he inherited it as the eldest son before the primogeniture laws were passed in 1785.
1. Sep 13, 1769 from Richard Claiborne, Gent. of L to John Dacus of L for 10 pounds, a tract of land whereon the said John Dacus now lives, about 100 acres in Lunenberg on the branches of the Meherrin River, part of the land the said Richard Claiborne bought of James Roberts, and bounded by Blagrave's line on Lyles Cr, Hankin, a new line. Signed Richd Claiborne. Wit - none. Recorded Sept 14, 1769.
2. 50 acres adjoining the land that Dacus now lives on - 50 pounds - Sold by Richard Claiborne to John Dacus July 27, 1773 - Blagraves line
3. Sept 13, 1792 from Nathaniel Dacus and Mary his wife to William Dacus both of L for 170 pounds about 150 acres on Meherrin River and Liles Cr in Lunenburg and bounded by William Crowder, Henry Pamplin, William Thackston, and the orphans of Gideon Moon, deceased. Signed - Nathaniel Dacus, Mary Dacus. Wit - none. Recorded Sep 13, 1792. Mary, the wife of Nathaniel Dacus, voluntarily relinquished her right of dower to the lands conveyed.

1789 Alexander married Jane Duprey in Mecklenburg Co, VA 17 Nov. 1789, Drury Duprey, sec.
"Ellick" Dacus appears in the personal property tax records of the upper district of Lunenburg Co, VA this year - "Ellick Dacus - 1 tithe 9 April, 1789".
The marriage record comes from Ancestry.com database "Virginia Marriages before 1800"; the parentage for Jane from the notation that Drury Duprey was her security. Drury is believed to be the son of Lewis Duprey and Amey Willingham and the notion is that Drury is her brother. Personal property tax records for 1789 are on microfilm at the Library of Virginia.

Farmer Dacus born. Alexander pays personal property taxes in Lunenberg Co, VA - April 22, 1790.
The birth year is "Family Lore". The records of the Primitive Baptist Indian Creek Church mention a Farmer Dacus - "Long Ago and Far Away", p. 104. These records, so far as I know, are the only place where his name shows up. He is possibly one of the 4 boys under 10 mentioned in the 1800 Greenville SC census and the "1 male 30-40" noted in Alexander's household in the 1830 census in Tipton Co, TN. Ludovick Farmer was a neighbor of Alexander in Lunenburg Co, VA so Farmer might well have been named after him.

John Dacus was born.
The birth year is "Family Lore". There is a mention of a John in the Primitive Baptist Indian Creek Church records according to "Long Ago and Far Away" p. 104. He was possibly a son of Alexander and Jane - and one of the 4 boys under 10 mentioned in the 1800 Greenville SC census

Daughter Dacus was born.
The birth year is "Family Lore". There is a girl between 0 & 10 listed in Alexander's household in the 1800 census. Is she a daughter, a family helper, a younger sister of Jane's, a neighbor? There are lots of possibilities.

Alexander in Mecklenberg, VA tax records
Mecklenburg Property taxes 1794 - FHC reel #1854098

William Dacus born in Virginia. Family Group Sheet Alexander paid personal property tax in Lunenburg Co, VA.
The birth year is "Family Lore". In the 1880 census William's sons James A. (in Yell Co, AR) and William C. (in Tipton Co, TN) say their father was born in Virginia. The last tax record I could find for Alexander in Lunenburg was in 1795, so it's a good approximation.

Lewis ?I ?J Dacus born, probably in Virginia. Family Group Sheet
Alexander acted as a witness to a land sale in Greenville Co, SC on August 8, 1797 (Greeenville SC Grantee Index, Book E, p. 19 - Nathaniel Dacus, Grantee)FHC film 24014, E 19-21
Lewis' son Buford said in the 1880 Tipton Co, TN census that his father was born in Virginia. Unfortunately Lewis' birth year is still "Family Lore" Lewis' age in 1850 census is stated as 63. If this were true he would have been born in 1787 - before Alexander and Jane were married. In 1830 he's listed in Tipton Co TN as "between 30 and 40" which would put his birth date between 1790 and 1800. I think the census taker made a slip of the pen in 1850 - writing 63 instead of 53, but it's open for discussion.
A note about middle names. In all the records I've looked at I can't find a single mention of a middle name for John Dacus, Sr. Why does every one keep calling him John William Dacus? Middle names didn't become common in Virginia until after the Revolution Does anyone have a good original source which adds the middle name William? I haven't found "I" as a middle initial for Lewis either, but I haven't examined enough of the records to be as sure.

Alexander bought 104 acres on Gilder's Creek in Greenville Co, SC from Wm Vaughn of Greenville. Property described as "on Nathaniel Dacus' line" - John Dacus, witness
Greenville Co, SC Grantee Index - Book O, p. 492 - purchase in 1799, but deed wasn't recorded until 1807.

Alexander and family were in 1800 census in Greenville County, SC
4 males under 10 (believed to be Farmer, John, William, and Lewis) - 1 male 26-45 (Alexander - 30) - 1 female under 10 (a daughter ?) - 1 female 26-45 (Nancy) (no slaves)

Alexander sold his 104 acre Guilders Creek, SC property to William O. Bryant, Sept 17, 1801 - John Dacus, witness
Deed is finally recorded 1 Jan 1810 in Greenville Co Book H, p. 35

Henry A.(Attis) Dacus born on 10 Aug 1801 in Greenville, SC, or is it Henry Dacus (the other Henry) instead?
Where does this birthdate come from? It appears out of thin air. This is another instance where there may be some paper work somewhere to substantiate the date but for now it's "Family Lore".
This is the start of the "2 Henrys" problem. Read about it here.
13 Dec 1801 - Sale of property by Able Pennington & Sarah to George Farmer of Oglethorp Co, GA, Alexander Dacus, witness.
Deed Book D, p. 493, Oglethorpe Co, GA

Sale of 100 acres of land on "the waters of Clouds Creek" by Abel Pennington and wife Sarah to Alexander "Davis" of Oglethorpe Co, GA. Alexander is listed in Captain Lester's Tax District this year - FHL film 177658 - p. 4.
Deed Book D, pp 304 & 305, Oglethorpe Co, GA. George Farmer, witness. This is indeed "our" Alexander. He's identified very clearly as Alexander "Dacus" when he sells this piece of property.

Alexander Dacus was on the tax lists in Oglethorpe Co, GA in Captain Alexander Lester's district along with Drury Duprey.
FHL 177658 Land Taxes,1803. - p. 17.

Sarah Dacus born 20 Dec 1804. Family Group Sheet

Date from Merrell family records.

Alexander Dacus was entitled to a draw in the 1805 Georgia Land Lottery but did not receive land.
Index to "1805 Georgia Land Lottery, Persons Entitled to Draws" Paul K. Graham.

Alexander Dacus was in Captain Winfrey Lockett's Tax District - Oglethorpe Co, GA.
FHL film #177699, p. 17.

On 19 March 1806 Alexander Dacus purchased 140 acres on Cloud's Creek from Britton and Elizabeth Sanders
Oglethorpe County Deed Book E, p. 158.

November 7, 1807 Alexander and wife Jenny “of Oglethorpe Co, GA sell property on Clouds Creek (140 acres - purchased from Sanders 1806) to Lewis Lester.
Oglethorpe Co, GA Deed Book F, p. 22.

Alexander Dacus was eligible for 2 draws in the 1807 Oglethorpe Land Lottery in Captain Joseph Moore's District (#45). He does not win.

GA GenWeb - Oglethorpe County Lottery Information.

Patsy Dacus born in Georgia Here's her family group sheet.

She says she was born in Georgia in 1850 census in Tipton Co, TN.

I do not find Alexander in the SC 1810 census and there is no 1810 Georgia census available.
Wahnella Templeton claims he's in the 1810 SC census. I can't find him there. I'm from MO I want someone to show me this record!

1807- 1818
So far I haven't located records in this time period. It's been suggested to me by one researcher that Alexander went to Sugar Valley, GA and then on into Tennessee so further work needs to be done on the early records of Lincoln and Davidson Counties in Tennessee and Gordon and surrounding counties in Georgia.
It would be wonderful to have references here!

William Dacus married Cynthia Dodson (Dawson?) in Davidson Co, TN, 6 Jan 1818. Witnesses Wilson Bryant and Alexander Dacus.

Davidson Co, TN - Marriage Book 1, page 191

Alexander and son William were listed in census in Lincoln Co, TN. (last name spelled Dacres)

1 white male between 16 & 18, the same white male 16-25 including heads of families, 2 white males 26-45 including heads of families, 1 male 45 and up including heads of families
2 white females under 10, 2 white females 10-16, 1 female 16-26, and 1 white female over 45
Wahnella Templeton says there's a male 10-16 but she's mistaken.
Wife 16-26 (Cynthia) and daughter under 10

Sarah Dacus married Benjamin Merrell in Lincoln Co, TN.
Merrell family records.

For twelve and a half cents an acre Alexander Dacus was granted 92 acres and 82 poles on the West Fork of Mulberry Creek - A north branch of the Elk river and bounded as follows: to wit beginning at a sugartree in the South boundary line of Nathaniel Rudd's 153 acre tract running thence South one hundred sixty-five poles to an elm, thence east eight-five poles to a stake in the west boundary of Lepe (I'd guess that's Jesse but I'd need to see the original document) Ellis' land, thence north ninety four poles to a stake, thence north seventy poles to a stake in the south boundary line of Nathaniel Rudd's 153 acre tract, thence west ninety nine poles to the beginning.

(Tennessee Land Grant Book 2, p. 85, Archives, Nashville. Grant 1775) per Wahnella Templeton's book, p. 16

Alexander Dacus' property was advertised to be sold for debt in Lincoln Co, TN. See transcription of newspaper clipping here
It appears from Lincoln County records that the sheriff never completed the sale. The Bryant family may have paid off his debts. It looks like William Dacus and John Bryant sold some property which once belonged to the Dacus family. It's a little hard to sort out since there is a gap in Lincoln County's deed records at the time Alexander first purchased land in Lincoln County.

Alexander and sons were in Tipton County, TN for the 1830 census.

On censuses in general you can read sons, daughters, wives if you like but remember "it ain't necessarily so"
  1. p. 272 - Tipton Co, TN census - Line 11
    • Alexander Dacus 50-60, a woman 50-60, a girl between 10 & 15 and a male between 30 & 40 - one person over 25 is deaf & dumb
    • William Boswell lived next door to Alexander. It's believed that Alexander's daughter Patsy was married to William. William is 20-30, Patsy (?) also 20 - 30, 2 boys under 5, one boy 5 - 10, 1 girl under 5.
  2. p. 270 - Tipton Co, TN census - bottom line
    • Henry Dacus 20-30, a woman 30-40, 3 boys under 5, 1 boy 5-10, 1 girl under 5, 1 female slave 36-55
  3. p. 268 - Tipton Co, TN census - Line 16
    • William Dacus 30-40, 1 boy under 5, 2 boys 5-10 and an unidentifed man 50-60, a woman 20-30, 1 girl under 5, one girl 10-15 (unidentifed man could possibly be Cynthia's father)
  4. p. 274 - Tipton Co, TN census - 3rd line from bottom
    • Lewis Dacus 30-40, 2 boys under 5, 1 boy 5-10, 2 girls, one 10-15 and one 20-30

Alexander's brother Nathaniel Dacus died this year in Greenville District, SC.

Greenville SC Will Book B, pp.137 and 138.

Henry A. Dacus bought property in Tipton County, TN. This is the first public record I find for him in Tipton County.

FHC Film #101931 - Tipton County Deed Book D, p. 627. Robert Y Mickelberry to Henry A. Dacus - 57 acres. The sale made January 1836, the deed registered February 1839.

During this year Henry Dacus (no middle initial) sold out his Tipton County property. Sales made to John Moore, Efford Owen, Tabitha Gaither and John Wilson.
FHC Film #101931 - Tipton County Deed Books C & D

1837 Henry Dacus (no middle initial) buys property from Harbard Tarpley in Hickman Co, KY in February of 1837. (160 acres on Bayou du chein)
Hickman Co, KY Deed Book D

1839 Alexander's brother William Dacus died this year in Greenville District, SC.
His will was proved July 15, 1839 - Greenville Will book B, pp.169 &170.

Tipton Co, TN Census.
Alexander Dacus, a girl 10-15 and a boy 10-15. Can we assume that his wife has died? I find no other Dacus listings in Tipton County this year.

Hickman Co, KY Census.

Henry Dacus, 1 boy under 5, 2 boys 5-10, 2 boys 10-15, 2 boys 15-20, 1 man 40-50 and 1 man 70-80 || 1 girl 5-10, 1 girl 10-15, 1 woman 40-50

Deed to Wm Dacus from Wm Boswell.

20th Feb 1839 to 24th May 1841. A Trust deed, Book E, p. 407

Henry Dacus, possible son of Alexander died in Hickman Co, KY (between 18 Sept 1843 & 5 Feb 1844).

Hickman Co, KY Will Book B, p. 453.

William Dacus, son of Alexander died intestate in Tipton Co, TN.

Tipton County Court Minutes.

Alexander obtained a land grant in Tipton Co, TN Transcription of Document

DACUS, Alexander (TN Tipton) 1849, 64 acres W dist. bk 12, p. 386 g#9181.
Tennessee Land Grants, surnames D-Dz - Sistler, Nashville, TN 1997.

Since this is the first year that all the names appear in a census I've made a table showing all the folks I could find as they appear in the official records. You can find the table here.
Alexander Dacus married Rebecca Starnes 15 Aug 1850. It's interesting that she's reported twice in the census.
References: 1850 US Census assorted locations, Tipton Co Tn Marriage Records

A daughter, Lavina, is born to Alexander and Rebecca this year. Lavina's Family Group Sheet

She was in the 1860 census with her mother Rebecca and was mentioned in Alexander's will.

Lewis Dacus died intestate in Tipton Co, TN.

Tipton County Court Minutes.


Rebecca Dacus (Alexander's second wife) married F.M. Knight 22 Nov 1860.

Lavina Dacus, now married to Peter Wilson, was in Jackson Co, IL for this census. By 1880 she had returned to Tipton County.
1870 census p, 47, precinct of Murphysboro, Jackson Co., IL family 328

Henry A. Dacus and wife appeared in the Tipton County, TN 1870 census at Porterville. Henry's middle name was written out as "Addis". Henry did not appear in the 1880 census so I'm assuming that he died sometime in this period although there is an administrator working on his affairs at a much later date (see April 1890 Tipton Co Administrators Bonds).
His widow Amy was living with her son H.C. Dacus in 1880.

Amy Dacus' will was produced in court by H.C. Dacus and admitted to probate June 1883.

Tipton Co Tn Court minutes, Vol Q, p. 336.

If you have information - documents, family records, photographs etc. dealing with any of these people please let me know.
If you're doing research on any of these lines, let me know and please share so these pages can become more accurate and informative.
Phyllis (third great-granddaughter of Henry and Eliza Dacus)


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