The Farris Family Tree

The Farris (Faires, Faries, Ferris) family was among the first pioneer settlers of Washington and Russell counties of South-western Virginia when it was a wilderness frontier. William, Robert and Gideon Farris settled on the South Fork of the Holston River near the present town of Damascus in S.E. Washington County Virginia in 1768. William died in 1777 and Gideon administered his estate.

Gideon (b. ca. 1740-1745) like his father, William, was a farmer and frontier Indian fighter. Gideon served with Col. William Christian in 1776 on a campaign against the Cherokees in East Tennessee who had been attacking frontier settlements at the instigation of the British. Gideon Farris died about 1818 leaving his widow Sarah (McSpadden) and ten children; Robert, Samuel, William, Gideon (Jr), Mrs. Moses (Elizabeth) Hickenbottom, Thomas, Mrs. Rev Nickolas (Sarah) Speak/e/s, Mable, Mary Callum and Jane McCully.

Robert, Mable and Gideon (Jr) owned land in Claiborne County,Tennessee in the 1820's and 1830's but later went to Lee County, Virginia where brother, William and sister, Mrs. Rev. Nickolas (Sarah) Speak/e/s lived. William later moved to Carter (later Johnson) County Tennessee where his sister, Mrs. Moses (Elizabeth) Hickenbottom lived.

William Farris, Gideon Sr's son, was born about 1766-1770 and is listed in the 1810 census (page 3b) of Washington County, Virginia with wife and nine children (5 males and 4 females). My great grandfather, John K. Farris, was born later (ca. 1813-1814) and was probably the youngest of William's children. Although there is no proof on all, I theorize these to be the children of William Farris (b. 1766-1770): Martin, William (Jr), Nancy (Garnett)*, Edward*, Elizabeth (Berry), Rosanna (Taylor), Sarah (Austin), James B.*, Levi and John K. Farris. (*=theorized). William Farris (b. 1766-1770) probably died in Johnson County, Tennessee between 1840 and 1850.

John K. Farris born about 1813-1814 (son of William b. 1766-1770) married ca. 1837 Mary Ann Bales (b 1818-1820 in Lee Co., Va.) the daughter of Vincent Bales (1793-1876) and Joanna Breeding (1795-1878), the daughter of Jeremiah Breeding (1763-65-1834) and Elizabeth Hurst (1772-18??).

John K. Farris was an Iron worker and foreman for the Bales Forge in Lee county, Va. He was later a partner in another iron forge but the high waters of 1863-64 washed it all away. He was also a distiller and farmer owning land in Claiborne and Johnson counties when he was a young man.

In 1887 John K. and Mary Ann purchased land in Union county near Lost Creek and Maynardville where they later died. It has not been determined where they were buried but probably in the Norris Lake area.

John K. and Mary Ann Farris had ten children, all were born in Lee County Virginia but later lived in Union and Claiborne counties. Their children are:
1. Elizabeth Jane Farris, b. 4/20/1838 d. 7/3/1913 Union Co., m. 1st Hiram N. Hubbard (1832-1863); m. 2nd. David "Pat" Campbell, he disappeared during a trip to sell cattle.; m. 3rd. William A Watson (1848-1890); m. 4th C _____ Herron.

Elizabeth's children: William P. Hubbard (1862), Mollie Campbell (1868-69), and Elizabeth L. (1870), Margaret L. (1872), Harrison C. (1875), Martha J. (1878) and Benjamin Franklin Watson (1883).

2. Vincent Bales Farris, b. 1840, joined the Confederate Army (Co. I, 25th Regiment Virginia Mounted Cavalry - "Lee Rangers"). He was a 4th Sergeant, captured at the battle of Cumberland Gap January 1864 and died in Rock Island Illinois on 3/10/64 of illness while a prisoner of war.

3. William Bartley Farris, b. 3/24/1841 d. 6/28/1913, m. 1875, Nervesta "Vesty" Neal (1851-1892) they lived and died in Claiborne Co. Their children: Laura (1877), Edward Bartley (1879), Lucy (1880), J. Frank (1882-83), and Lula (1891).

4. Calab Farris, b. 1/3/1845 d. 5/29/1919, Knox Co. Joined the Confederate Army (Co. G, 25th Virginia Mounted Cavalry) and was captured with his brother, Vincent, and sent to Rock Island Prison in Illinois where on 10/6/1864 he volunteered for service on the western frontier in the 2nd. Regiment U.S. Volunters, Co. E. and served at Ft. Lyon, Colorado Territory. He rose to the rank of Corporal and was paroled and mustered out of service at Ft. Levenworth, Kansas on 11/7/1865.

In 1871 he married Sarah E. McAfee (1848-1907), in Lee Co. Va. Their children: Moses Lee (1871), John Knox (1873), William S. (1875), Myrtle J. (1877), Dora C. (1881), Sterling B. (1884-85), Charles C. (1886-87), and China (ca. 1888).

5. George Farris, b. 11/20/1845 d. 1/15/1922, Union Co. m. 1871, Lee Co. Sarah Elizabeth Watson (1856-????). Their Children: Perlina (1874), William R. (1877), Stephen B. (1879), Archie Verlin (1887), Laska (?) (188?), and Rhetta L. (1891).

6. Stephen Bradley Farris, b.7/13/1854 d. 10/4/1928, Hale Co. Texas. He first married 1875 Union Co., Margaret V. Lynch (b. 10/23/1860) daughter of Riley H. & Solina. Children: Lydia C. (1877), Ida Paulina (1879), William Riley ( 1881), Virginia Luster (1884), Louis Kelly (1886), John Loy (1888), and Robert Emmett (1890). Margaret died of illness on 5/31/1892. In 1894 Stephen married Malinda Emmaline Keck, in Claiborne Co.

7. Sarah R. Farris, b. 1855 Lee Co. Va.

8. Squire J. Farris, (1856-1857)

9. Emily C. Farris, (1858-1884)

10. Margaret Laura Farris, (1860-19??) m. Harvey S. Witt. Stephen Bradley Farris was a farmer and did most of his own blacksmith work, horse shoeing and tool making. After the death of his first wife in 1892, Stephen married Emmaline Keck, the daughter of William McKendry Keck and Sarah Elizabeth (Beason) Keck, of Claiborne County. Emmaline's younger brother, Isaac McKendry Keck, fell in love with Stephen's daughter, Ida Paulina, and married in 1895 at
Goin, Tennessee. This made the two families "double kin". Both families farmed in Union county for several years.

Meanwhile, Emmaline and Isaac's parents and family moved to Baylor county Texas about 1896. Three years later in January 1899, Stephen B. Farris and Isaac "MC" Keck loaded their belongings and families into covered wagons and headed west to Texas. Settling in Baylor County, northwest of the town of Seymour, Texas, they farmed until 1907 when Stephen moved his family farther west to the Panhandle town of Plainview, where he purchased eighty acres. Stephen sold his land in 1922 and the family bought a home in town and he retired, but still helped his son, John Loy, with his farm in Montley County, Texas during harvest.

Stephen B. Farris died of heart failure 10/4/1928 and Emmaline died 3/4/1930. They are buried in the cemetery in Plainview, Texas Their children:

1. Cale Farris, b. 9/20/1895, Union Co, Tennessee.; d. 4/29/1965, Hale Co, Texas; m. 1919, Ida Bell Harraman (1903- ); Children: Dorthy Nona, Oliver Cale, Billy Earl, Gaynell, Jerry and Carolyn Sue.

2. Sarah Elizabeth Farris, b. 5/17/1898, Union Co, TN. d. 11/4/1951, Santa Rosa, NM; m. 1919, Thomas Elmer Davis (1891-1930): Children: Farris Elvin, Helen Faye and Thomas Elmer (Jr).

3. Herman Leroy Farris, b. 4/2/1900, Seymour, TX.; d. 8/15/1917, Plainview, TX.

4. Maybell Farris, b. 1903 d. 1903 Seymour, TX.

5. Lillian Jane Farris, b. 7/7/1904, Seymour, TX; m. 1st 1923 Corbett T. Bullock (1903-1961); children: Elizabeth and Corbett Donald; m. 2nd. 1968, Herman Maloy Smelser.

6. George Henry Farris, b. 1/7/1907, Seymour, TX; d. 4/24/1980, Plainview, TX; m. 1927, Annie Geneva Dean (1909- ); children: J.B. (1929), Hazle Irene (1931) and Dorman Dean Farris (1941).

7. Ethel Ella Bertha Farris, b. 8/9/1909 Plainview, TX; d. 11/28/1985, Plainview, TX; m. 1926, Lawrence Edger Marshall (1905- ); Children: Lawrence Curtis and Lillian Susan Louise.

8. Nella Pearl Farris, b. 7/23/1915, Plainview, TX; m. 1930, Joseph Samual Couch (1904- ); Children: Melvin Dale and Judy Ann Jane.

9. Mildred Farris, b. 2/4/1920, Plainview, TX; m. 1942, Nathaniel Hamilton Gammage (1921- ); Children: Linda Kaye and Ronald Nathaniel.

Written and Submitted by: Dorman Dean Farris: Assisted by Kenneth Farris. Taken from The Peoples History of Claiborne County, Tennessee.



My wonderful FARRIS cousin and friend, WILMER GRUBB of Virginia has researched and created much information on the Farris family. The link below will take you to those pages.

After we "met", it took us two years to discover we were cousins! This is great Family information. Thank you so much, WILMER.

The Descendants of William Farris


EDWARD FARRIS was born in Ireland. He married AGNES, who was also born in Ireland. They are my great great great great great great grandparents.
EDWARD and AGNES had one child that I know of.


WILLIAM FARRIS was born in 1720  in Downs County Ireland or Antrim
Ireland, and died in 1776, in Washington County Virginia. He married DEBORAH JOHNSON in Ireland in 1735.  She died March 22, 1812, in Washington County Virginia. WILLIAM and DEBORAH were my great great great great great grandparents. They had one child that I know of.


GIDEON was born in 1748 in Virginia, and died in 1818 in Washington
County Virginia. He married SARAH MCSPADDEN in 1760 in Virginia.  SARAH was born in 1745 in Timber Ridge, Augusta County Virginia, and died in 1821 in Washington County Virginia.  GIDEON and SARAH were my great great great great grandparents.

SARAH'S parents were THOMAS MCSPADDEN and MARY EDMINSTON  from  the Province of Ulster County Antrim Ireland. THOMAS and DOROTHY had nine other children, besides SARAH.  THOMAS's FATHER, THOMAS C. MCSPADDEN, WAS FROM THE SAME AREA. THOMAS and MARY were my great great great great great grandparents. THOMAS C. was my great great great great great grandfather.
DOROTHY was born in 1721. 


GIDEON, like his father WILLIAM, was a farmer and a Frontier Indian Fighter.  He served with WILLIAM CHRISTIAN in 1776, on a campaign against the Cherokees in East Tennessee, who had been attacking Frontier Settlements, at the instigation of the British.
GIDEON and SARAH had 10 children.


ROBERT.  He was born between 1760 and 1765, and died between 1834 and
1840 in Washington County Virginia.  He married PEGGY HUCKENBOTTOM on July 25, 1793, in Washington County.
SAMUEL was born between 1766 and 1775, and died in August 1826, in
Washington County.  He married  JANE SPEAR May 25, 1809 in Washington County.  She was born in 1780, and died October 5, 1859.
WILLIAM was born in 1766 in Washington County, and died about 1840 in Johnson County Tennessee.
GIDEON JR.  He was born between 1770 and 1780 in Washington County, and died between 1833 and 1842 in Lee County.
ELIZABETH.  She was born in 1780, and died before 1820 in Washington County.  She married JAMES (OLD MOSES) HIGGENBOTTOM.
THOMAS.  He was born June 30, 1778, in Washington County, and died December 20, 1856 in Washington County.

THOMAS was my great great great grandfather.

MABLE.  She was born between 1785 and 1790, and died between 1840 and
1850, in Lee County.
SARAH.  She was born March 8, 1786 in Washington County, and died in
1865 in Lee County.


WILLIAM.  He was born in 1766 in Washington County, and died about 1840
in Johnson County Tennessee. 
He married DEBBIE MORRIS  January 14, 1805, in Washington County.
WILLIAM and DEBBIE had 10 children.


WILLIAM.  He was born about 1790.
LEVI.  He was born in Virginia in 1804.  He married JANE SPEARS on December 16, 1838
JOHN K..  He was born in 1813.


THOMAS  was born June 30, 1778 in Washington County, and died December 20, 1856 in Washington County. He married ANNE NANCY MCNEW in 1811 in Washington County.  She was born about 1791 in Washington County.  ANNE NANCY was the daughter of GEORGE MCNEW and AMELIA HARGIS MCNEW.  AMELIA was born about 1791 in Washington County, and died in Washington County in 1871.  GEORGE and AMELIA were my great great great great grandparents.
THOMAS and ANNE NANCY were my great great great grandparents. They had 13 children.


THOMAS II.  He was born about 1825 in Washington County, and died January 28, 1865 in Columbus, Ohio.  His parents were GIDEON FARRIS & SARAH MCSPADDEN. Thomas was captured by the Cherokees in Virginia, and the English took him to a prison camp in Columbus. He married MARY MCNEW, daughter of REVEREND JULIUS CONNOR MCNEW and LUCINDA MCREYNOLDS, a direct descndant of Robert The Bruce, First King of Scotland. She was born about 1824 in Washington County, and died August 17, 1863, in Saltville Smyth County. THOMAS and MARY  were my great great grandparents.  JULIUS and LUCINDA were my great great great grandparents. THOMAS and MARY had 3 children.


He died as a POW at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio.  THOMAS is buried in Grave #931. In 1864, THOMAS served in Co. , 13th Virginia Infantry Reg., and also 6th Virginia Reg.

ELIZABETH.  She was born in 1813.
JULIUS CONNOR.  He was born  January 7, 1814.
WILLIAM B.  He was born in 1816, and died in 1853.
GEORGE.  He was born in 1818.
RHODA.  She was born in May, 1824.
THOMAS.  He was born in 1825.
DAVID.  He was born in 1826.
JAMES.  He was born in 1827.
FRANCES JANE.  She was born in 1833.  She married FRANCIS HOLMES in 1855.
ALLSEY---twin.  She was born in 1835, and married  JOHN MORGAN in 1854.
MARY---twin.  She was born in 1835, and married JOHN SMITH in 1857.


CALEB.  He was born January 3, 1845 in Lee County, and died May 29, 1919 in Knox County
GEORGE.   He was born November 20, 1845 in Lee County. and died January
15, 1922  in Union County.
ANNA ELIZA, the daughter of THOMAS & MARY and sister to TRIGG and WHEELER, was born March 20, 1853 in Washington County Virginia, and died in Bristol, Tennessee on June 4, 1941.
ANNA ELIZA'S children were—

WILLIAM OTIS, born July 18, 1872
FLORA AURIELA, born May 26, 1879.
SIDNEY ANDREW, born December 9, 1882. My father FRANK TORRANCE was born on December 9th too, but in 1902.
JAMES DOFFUS, born November 1, 1887.

TRIGG.  He was born in 1852 in Washington County, and died January 15,
1912 in Hutto, Texas, Williamson County. He married MARY ELIZABETH OWENS April 16, 1874 in Washington County. She was born April 16, 1855 in Washington County, and died in Travis County Texas in 1900.  She is buried with her husband TRIGG in Hutto. TRIGG and MARY were my great grandparents. THEY HAD 12 children.

MOLLY (MARY) married WILL WEIR. MOLLY & WILL had two children----

Daughter (Unknown)
BRYAN, a son who died of cancer at a very young age.

ROBERT married CALLIE. ROB (as he was called) and CALLIE had three daughters and one son—

BERTHA. She was married three times. Her last husband was RUSS POWERS.
MARTHA. She married JULIUS MARKS. Both were still alive in 2001. They lived in Elgin, Texas. Their daughter MARY married a man by the name of JERRY—surname unknown. They lived in California for quite awhile, but eventually moved back to Texas. They had a son named R.L, and he married DOROTHY WILLIAMS. R.L.'S mother MARY was killed in a motorcycle accident. MARY was called MAMIE DOROTHY and R.L'S FATHER ROB died in 1957 at age 67. He was born in 1890.

RHODA GERTRUDE, daughter of TRIGG and MARY ELIZABETH, died in 1955. She and her husband lived in Meadowview, Virginia. They had a daughter----and a granddaughter whose name was TEXAS.

WHEELER FARRIS, son of THOMAS & MARY, and brother of ANNA ELIZA and TRIGG, was born July 18, 1861 in Washington County Virginia, and died in Detroit, Michigan on March 17, 1909. He became a famous policeman. He married JENNIE RUMSHER, who was born in Canada in January of 1871.
WHEELER & JENNIE'S children were—

CLARENCE M., born on March 16th.
RUSSELL F., born March 1, 1898. His wife is Unknown.

Their children were----
SHIRLEY, who died at age 12.


ARLENA FRANCES  She was born October 16,  1874 in Virginia, and died September  13, 1955 in Oklahoma.  She was married to MR. POWELL.
MARY (MOLLIE).  She was born September 19, 1876 in Virginia, and died March 4, 1953, in Texas.  She was married to MR. WEIR.
MAGGIE LUELLEN.  She was born in Glade Springs, Virginia Washington County, on February 14, 1879, and died in Forney, Texas on October 1,
1914. At this point in time, i do not know where she was buried.  MAGGIE was married to JOSEPH ALVIN TORRANCE.  He was born in Owensboro, Kentucky Daviess County on August 18, 1874, and died August 29, 1943 in Fresno.  He was buried September 3rd at the Mountain View Cemetary in Fresno.
JOSEPH and MAGGIE were my grandparents.They were married October 16,
1894. They had 7 children. 
TOM BROWN FARRIS was born January 16, 1881 in Virginia. He died August 18, 1971, in Denton, Texas, Denton County. He married CYNTHIA SUSSIE HOWELL. She was born on March 19, 1883 in Goliad, Texas. My daughter MARILYN was born on March 19th in 1956. CYNTHIA died December 16, 1977 in Denton.

TOM & CYNTHIA'S children were—
ROSA LEE FARRIS MEDLIN. She was born January 10, 1905, and died September 16, 1990.
MARY LEOLA FARRIS MCQUEEN. She was born January 9, 1910. LEOLA is one of the oldest FARRISES still living.
Children who were born to ROSA LEE—
Children born to LEOLA----

AUTHER JOHNSON.  He was born February 10, 1884.  I was born on February 10th also, but in 1930.  AUTHER died in 1926 in Texas.
FLORA MABELLE.  She was born October 2, 1886 in Texas, and died there June 4, 1960.  She was married to a MR. HEDRICK.
CHARLIE. (TWIN) was born June 2, 1889 in Texas, and died March or April in 1964.
ROBERT.  He was born in Texas on December 21, 1890.  (My sister Hazel was born on December 21st, but in 1932.) He died February 6, 1957 in Texas.
JESSE. (TWIN).  She was born June 2, 1889.  She married a MR. LESTER
RHODA GERTRUDE  She was born in Virginia November 8, 1892, and died in San Antonio, Texas.
LEE ROY died in San Antonio, Texas of throat cancer. He married WOODIE ESTHER.Their son was—
CLARENCE.  He was born June 8, 1897 in Texas, and died in Midland of throat cancer.  He married ESSIE MAY SMITH. She died of a massive stroke.

CLARENCE & ESSIE took a horse and buggy from Georgetown, Texas, to Midland Texas. Travelling with them, were their two children—nine year old GENE, and seven year old LOIS.

Two horses pulled the buggy to Midland.  It took them several months to get there.  They camped along the way, and fixed their meals on the roadside.

There were four more children within ten years, after they arrived in Midland.  One of them died. Some descendants of CLARENCE and  ESSIE MAE are still living in Midland.


WILLIAM (called Willie & Bill) was born August 10, 1895 in Texas.
JAMES ALPHONSUS (called Fonny) was born February 5, 1897 in Texas.
MARY ELIZABETH (who was named after her grandmother) was born April 6, 1900 in Texas, and died there April ll, 1811, at age eleven.
THOMAS FRANKLIN (called FRANK) was born December 9, 1902 in Georgetown, Texas, and died November 30, 1951 in Fresno, California.   FRANK  was my father.
VIRGIE MAE.  She was born May 3, 1905 in Georgetown, Texas, and died in Fresno.
ROBERT (called BOB) was born about 1907 in Texas, and died in Kansas City, Missouri.
JOSEPH VINCENT (called Joe) was born in Texas about 1909.  

      GENERATION #12

HAROLD WHEELER FARRIS was born in Virginia on April 25, 1918, and died in Detroit, Michigan in September, 1983. He was the son of CLARENCE M. and his wife. He married VIRGINIA (maiden name unknown) She was born in Toledo, Ohio in September, 1922.
CLARENCE Ms two other sons were—


WHEELER and VIRGINIA'S children were—
CLIFFORD THOMAS, born in 1947.
WHEELER & VIRGINIA had three other sons, who either died at birth or as infants.


Pictures of my Farris ancestors

First Row, Left to Right—AUTHER JOHNSON; JESSEE—twin; my great grandfather TRIGG; CHARLIE--twin; my great grandmother MARY ELIZABETH OWENS FARRIS, and in her lap, ROBERT LEE; and FLORA MAYBELLE.
Second Row, Left to Right—LENA FRANCES; MOLLIE; my grandmother MAGGIE LUELLEN; and THOMAS BROWN.
Three younger children were not born yet.  They were—RHODA; LEE ROY; and CLARENCE.
According to David D. Farris: "Here is another one (elizaandgroup.jpg) entitled "A Farris female picture.  Grandma in Center, Grandma Ella Ring Farris left shoulder behind." If anyone can identify these more completely, please contact me.




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Doris Torrance Coleman
February 10, 1930

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