The late W.G. McCarron of Athens, in an
article entitled "Big
Families of McMinn County", published in the Athenian on September
19, 1912 gives a brief history of the Cantrell family of this area:
"...John Cantrell, who was Heugenot
orgin, was the founder in
this country of the Cantrell family, and ancestor of the Cantrells
McMinn County, was said to have had 21 sons and two daughters--17
sons by his first wife and four sons and two daughters by his second
wife. His son Thomas Cantrell had ten children, and the example
by his father has been followed closely to the present time.
A story is handed down in the Cantrell family that the father of
army of boys went into a new country store of the neighborhood and
the proprietor of which was a stranger and asked to see some boys
hats. The storekeeper politely handed down a dozen hats in
from which his new customer might make a selection, and laying the
dozen hats to one side said he would like another box full.'Well!'
said the surprised merchant, 'How many hats do you want?'
Mr. Cantrell stepped to the door where his family was waiting in
wagons and said: 'Boys, come in here!' In marched 21 boys and lining
up by the counter, the surprised merchant said, 'Are these
yours?' When assured they were, he replied, 'Well, you can
in being clever, so I'll just give you 21 hats.' This
he did, each
boy made his selection and marched out.
There were probably no newspapers
in which a merchant could
advertise in that neighborhood, but this merchant made a hit that
put him on his feet thereafter.
Six of John Cantrell's 21 sons later
served in the Rev. War."
Note: In checking with my Cantrell-Newman Genealogy book I find a
Cantrell3 who had 21 sons by two different wives. However, this
never reached McMinn Co. He was born in New Castle Co Pa (now Delaware)
in 1724. Died 1803. Migrated to Rockingham Co NC before the Rev
and to Spartanburg Co, SC where he owned over 800 acres.."
He was the
father of Thomas Cantrell4 of Cantrell's Cross Roads.
This John3 (1724) was of Joseph2 (c.1695) of Richard1 (c.1600's,
earliest Cantrell, Cantrill on record at present.)
John3 had 21 sons of which the McMinn Co TN line comes from # 12
THOMAS CANTRELL4, b. Jan 23, 1761, d. Sept. 23, 1830 and is buried
what we call the Thomas Cantrell Cemetery. This is one of the oldest
dated tombstones in the county. It was on his land, then called
Cantrell's Cross Roads, later called Williamsburg, and Grady
and now West Etowah. The Taylor Mansion today was his home.
(See the touching story of Thomas' daughter, Mary Cantrell Cook,
move to our stark county in the early 1820's. See WILLIAM HENRY
Thomas had 10 children of which # 5, Elijah5 and # 8, David5, are
McMinn's Cantrell descendents.
First ELIJAH: He had 9 children, the direct descendent is the
first born, THOMAS CANTRELL6, b. JUNE 22, 1819 in DeKalb CO TN.
Migrated to McMinn with his parents as a small boy. He married
Louisa Lawson, dau of Lewis Lawson of near Athens. Moved to
Missouri in 1850 but returned and lived in Bradley CO during the
Civil War; later returned to DeKalb CO where he died in 1885.
Was a member of the Meth. Episc. Church and was highly respected
in the localities where he lived.
The direct descendent is from # 2 son, ELIJAH WILSON CANTRELL7,
b. Jan. 6, 1848. Married Bettie Jane Moore Sept.3, 1873. She was
born Sept 5, 1855. This Elijah had large fruit interests (grafting)
in the Piney Grove Community. They were Methodists. Elijah had 14
The direct descendent here is # 8 child, CREED JONES CANTRELL8
b. Jan. 2, 1889. He married Loula Bell Walker b.l893; d. Oct 30,1978.
They had 5 children:
NETTIE JANE CANTRELL BIGHAM b. Jan 14, 1914; d. Sept 28,1986
CREED JONES (C.J.) CANTRELL b. Apr 8, 1916; d. Aug 8, 1964.
MARY LEE CANTRELL TORBET NOV 28,1917; d. Jan 8, 1996.
JAMES LUTHER CANTRELL Aug 19, 1919
WILLIAM FRANCIS CANTRELL May 27, 1921; d. Apr 7, 1979.
IAGO CANTRELL Feb 14, 1926
CONTINUING WITH ELIJAH WILSON'S BROTHER DAVID CANTRELL: Son of
Thomas Cantrell4, of John3, of Joseph2, of Richard1.
DAVID CANTRELL5 was born July 20, 1795, in Greenville District,
Went with his parents to McMinn CO TN and settled upon the waters
Chestuee Creek. He married (1) Alice Reynolds, dau of Isham
of Hawkins CO TN, Feb. 25, 1823. She was born Mar. 10, 1797 and
Feb. 28, 1849, leaving (9) nine children. Married (2) Rebecca Wilburn
Crockett, Oct. 19, 1851. Three children. He died Feb. 19,
was buried in a private plot on what was once a portion of his farm.
1203. i. Reynolds Cantrell
1204. ii. Clementine, b. Nov 2, 1825; m. Clinton R. Newman, Dec.
1846; d. Oct 1891.
1205. iii. Adaline
1206. iv. Elmira
1207. v. Marcus De Lafayette
1208. vi. Elizabeth Ann
1209. vii. Malcom
1210. viii. Alice Elizabeth
1211. ix. Martha Ann
1212 x. Sarah Mahala
1213. xi. Margaret Madaline
1214. xii. Mary Madora
For more detailed info on the Cantrell families contact William L.
Edited by: William L. Bigham
To McMinn Genealogy Web Project