The Two Henry Dacuses


In 1836 there were 2 men named Henry Dacus both living in Tipton County, Tennessee.

One of them, always referred to as “Henry A.,” had just purchased property (signing his name) lying on Beaver Dam Creek from Robert Mickelberry of Mississippi Co, AR. "Henry A." started appearing in Tipton County records in 1836.

The other Henry, always referred to as "Henry" had just finished selling off all his property(signing with an "X")and was in the process of moving his family to Hickman Co, KY. He purchased property from Harbard Tarpley on Hickman County's Bayou du Chein in February 1837.

This duplication of names has caused no end of confusion among Dacus researchers.

I'm a descendant of the “other” Henry, the one who moved to Kentucky. I am firmly convinced by the records that this Henry is the son of Alexander Dacus and that Henry A. Dacus has yet to be assigned to the right family, I hope the information that follows will clear up some of the confusion between these two men.



Henry NMI (no middle initial) Dacus - Tipton Co, TN to Hickman Co, KY


Henry is listed in the 1830 census of Tipton County, TN (p. 270, bottom line) as follows:
  • 1 male 20-30 (Henry)
  • 3 males under 5 (Henry J., the other 2 are unidentified)
  • 1 male 5-10 (William)
  • 1 female 30-40 (Eliza)
  • 1 female under 5 (Eliza J.)

By the beginning of 1837 Henry (NMI) Dacus had sold all of his property in Tipton County, TN. His land grant, which he claimed and had surveyed in 1831, contained 190 1/4 acres and was located in the 11th district, Range 4, sections 4 & 5 of Tipton County.(FHL Microfilm # 1010928 Tipton Co. Deeds & surveys 1820-1830, p. 337) This piece he divided and sold - one piece to Tabitha Gaither on Oct 24, 1835, the second piece to John Moore in February 1836 and the last piece to John Wilson in Jan 1837 (this sale was registered with the county clerk by Alexander and Lewis Dacus in February 1837 - see Tipton Co Deed book D, pp 114-115 FHL Microfilm-1010931)

The next record we have is his purchase of 160 acres from Harbard Tarpley on Bayou du Chein in Hickman Co, KY on February 10, 1837.

He is listed in the 1840 census of Hickman Co, KY (p. 331, second line) as follows:
  • 1 male 70-80 (I have no idea who this might be)
  • 1 male 40-50 (Henry)
  • 2 males 15-20 (William, Henry J.)
  • 2 males 10-15 (Unidentified)
  • 2 males 5-10 (Gibson and Joshua (AKA Joseph))
  • 1 male under 5 (Lewis)
  • 1 female 40-50 (Eliza)
  • 1 female 10-15 (Eliza J.)
  • 1 female 5-10 (Cassana)

Henry did not live much longer. He died somewhere between Sept 18, 1843 (when his will was written) and February 5, 1844 (when his will was presented in court.) The text of his will reads as follows:

In the name of God amen, I Henry Dacus of the County of Hickman and State of Kentucky being sick and weak in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory thanks be to God nowing that it is appointed for all men one to die do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following first I recommend my Sole to God who gave it and my boddy berred disent and as tuching shuch worly goods as it hath pleased good to blest me with I dispose of as following. I want enough of my property sold to pay my just debts and the rest of my property I want my wife Eliza Dacus to have her life time or widderhood and as the children grose up and leves her to give them an equal part with William Dacus my son and at my wife's death or marriage I want all my property divided equally between all my children. I acknowledge this to be my last will and no other this the 18 day of September 1843.

(This transcription ia from Hickman Co, KY Will Book B, p. 453. I assume that the clerk copied it as received. It was probably written down by either Sherwood or Jonathan Bugg, the witnesses, since Henry didn't read or write)

Henry's wife Eliza died in December 1847, and William, oldest son of Henry and Eliza, became executor of Henry's will and guardian of his younger brothers and sisters. This is the reason I can be fairly confident about the names and approximate ages of the brothers and sisters. They are all mentioned frequently in Hickman County Court records over the next few years.

In 1850 they are found in the census in several different places.
In Hickman County, KY, p 35, dwelling place 484, family 505
  • William Dacus, farmer, 27, b Tennessee
  • L.A. Dacus, 24, b. Virginia (first wife Lucy Ann Bugg)
  • Their three sons William, Henry and John all born in Kentucky
  • J. Dacus - Joshua (AKA Joseph), 16, born Tennessee - William's younger brother
  • C.A. Dacus - Cassana, 16, born Tennessee - William's younger sister
  • L.F. Dacus - Lewis, 11, born Kentucky)
  • Eliza Janehas married and is living with husband William Bugg

In Tipton County, TN
  • staying with William C. Dacus, son and Zerilda, widow of William Dacus Henry J. Dacus, b. Tennessee, son of Henry (NMI) and younger brother of William, son of Henry.
  • staying with Daniel B. and Frances Boswell Gipson Dacus, b. Tennessee son of Henry (NMI) and younger brother of William, son of Henry.

Most of Henry and Eliza's children were dead by 1865 - only William and Joseph survived. Joseph fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War and returned to Kentucky living in Fulton and Graves County, KY until his death in 1908. William migrated to Arkansas living first in Dardanelle in Yell County. He met his third wife, Eleanor Ferrill, there (He and Eleanor are my GreatGreatGrandparents). He then moved across the river to Russellville in Pope County. He died in Pope County in 1893.

Group sheet for Henry and Eliza's family


Henry A.("Attis" in 1870 census) Dacus - from unknown place to Tipton Co, TN


I cannot locate Henry A. Dacus in the 1830 census. He must have been living with another family, perhaps his wife's.
The first Tipton Co, Tn record I find for him is a purchase of property in January 1836 (Tipton Co. Deed book D, p. 627) when he buys 57 acres from Robert Y. Mickelberry. Contrary to Henry NMI Dacus Henry A. is literate and signs his name instead of his mark. There continue to be real estate transactions in Tipton Co, Tn involving Henry A.through 1847.
The first census I've located him in is in Covington in 1850. He and his wife are in Tipton's 1860 & 1870 censuses as well. A lot of research work still needs to be done on his life.


I believe for many reasons that Henry (NMI) Dacus is Alexander's son. His property transactions in Tipton County were all signed with an "X". The deed to his final Tipton County sale was delivered to the County Clerk by Lewis and Alexander Dacus after Henry had left the state.

Henry A's transactions (starting in 1836) had his signature.

When Henry's son William left Hickman County, Kentucky and moved to Arkansas he went straight to Yell County, Arkansas where James Alexander Dacus was living. James stood bond for William when he became the administrator of Eleanor Ferrill's deceased husband's property.

My Grandmother's records say that William was born in Tipton County, Tennessee, and the census records for the rest of Henry and Eliza's children indicate they were born in Tennessee as well.

I'm not yet sure who Henry A belongs to. I do know that in 1853 he and his son-in-law D.B. Boswell acted as administrators for a Nancy Dacus in Shelby County, TN. She was the widow of a John W. Dacus - 29 in the 1850 Shelby Co, TN census - who was born in South Carolina. It appears that Nancy and John met and married in Bedford Co, TN (Nancy's maiden name was Hubbard and she was a descendant of Valentine Kyser of Bedford County.) I think there needs to be a further exploration of the records of Bedford County to see if there's a trace of Henry A. there - for a start. He and John W. might well be related.

There are a lot of records still to be looked at before this is figured out.
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