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McDaniels/McDanolds/McDonalds of Southwest Virginia

Scroll through the page or click a name below - -
Theresa McDaniel Sarah Salley McDaniel Orpha McDaniel Solomon F. McDonald Elisabeth McDaniel Amon McDaniel Absalom McDaniel

The McDaniel family line begins with Columbus McDaniel (also spelled McDanold and McDonald) who migrated south from the upper East Coast through Maryland and into Virginia. He was said to have been married to Betsy Bishop. When they came to Virginia isn't known precisely, but their first three daughters were born in Maryland and the next child, Solomon, was born either in Montgomery County, Virginia or Maryland in 1784 so their arrival in Virginia occurred sometime around 1785. While Columbus spelled his name "McDaniel" (based on his will), it is spelled "McDanold" in the bible of the oldest son of Columbus' son Solomon. Over the years, it evolved to "McDonald." Various census and land documents show the name both ways in the early 1800's.

While we don't know Columbus' origin or his parents names what we have been able to establish is very close DNA (both Autosomal and Y) matches with a family of McDaniels in Berkeley County, West Virginia, whose earlier ancestor is Alexander who came from Frederick  County, Md., and with one Enos McDaniel who lived in Bedford County, Pa. and then Bourbon County, Ky.  Our best guess is that Columbus was related to these individuals, but we don't know whether he was a son, father, or cousin of one or the other, and because of the scarcity of written records in the latter half of the 1700's, we likely will never know.  We also continue to believe that Columbus was related to Jared McDaniel who settled in the Upperville, Va. area.   

Columbus eventually settled in the vicinity of Chatham Hill which is located in Rich Valley about 12 miles north of the city of Marion. At that time, Chatham Hill was located in Montgomery or Washington County. Wilson's "Smyth County" says a Columbia McDonald acquired 148 acres of land, March 4, 1793, on the North side of the Middle Fork Holston river. This may or may not be the same Columbus McDaniel. While the name could very likely have been misread or misspelled, the Middle Fork of the Holston River lies further south around Marion. The portion of the Holston that flows through Chatham Hill is the North Fork.  Virginia Valley Records, Rockingham County Supplement says that on Oct. 10, 1797, Michael and Elizabeth Cassell deeded to Columbus McDonald, 180 acres in Rich Valley, Wythe County, Virginia, on the North Fork of the Holston granted to Michael Cassell by patent dated Sept. 6, 1793, and we recently acquired a handwritten document signed by Columbus McDonald in or prior to 1802 transferring 180 acres to John Byars (or Byers).  The document was witnessed by Elias Bishop, son-in-law of Columbus who died in 1802.

All of the McDonald family males had left the Chatham Hill/Marion area and Virginia by the mid-1880s, although some of the daughters stayed and married into other families. Those who left migrated northwest to Nebraska. Some went on to Iowa and several of Columbus' grandchildren continued on to California in the early 1900's. Records of them in Virginia are sparse, but there are a few cemetery headstones of Columbus' grandchildren in the Chatham Hill area. Other than the reference to Columbia McDaniel purchasing land in 1793, the only specific records we have found are entries on the 1810 and 1820 censuses referring to Columbus and his children, and Columbus' will from 1821.

Map of the Chatham Hill area (click here)


Columbus McDaniel

From the 1939 Hurlburt family history:

“So we must start with Columbus, who is said to have used the spelling MacDanold. He lived in what is now Smyth county, but what probably then was Montgomery or Wythe, depending upon what time he came. He is said to have come from Maryland, and either he or his father to have come earlier from Glencoe, Scotland.

I have been interested in what Mrs. Jos. C. Jeffords, 925 Virginia st., Charleston, W. Va. has told of a Jared who immigrated with several children, who died near Upperville, Va., in 1824, where his widow died in 1832. In the records of Fauquier county, Va., the names of the Jared family appear as McDonald, McDanold, McDaniel. Jared's descendants 40 years ago were excited about a supposed great estate in Scotland to which they had claim--and so were Columbus' descendants. Two of Jared's sons, Jared and Samuel, married Marshall girls, and one of Columbus' grandsons was Solomon Marshall McDanold. I have what are said to be the names of all Jared's sons, and since the oldest was only 18 years older than a son of Columbus, Columbus must not have been a descendant of Jared. But I have thought he might be a brother or nephew--purely speculative on my part.

Columbus' wife was Betsy and I suppose they married before coming there. I'm told she was Betsy Bishop. Her granddaughter was Sarah Bishop McDanold, her granddaughter, in turn, being Sarah Bishop Sexton. Columbus is said to have had 2 or 3 sons. I was told that one was Amon, but it may have been Absolom, as Mrs. Nan Gaddy told me there was a son, Absolom, and I think he drowned leaving no family.”

View complete Hurlburt family history (PDF)

What we know about Columbus McDaniel is - -

  • He is alleged to have come from Maryland and possibly earlier the upper East Coast.

  • Based on reported years of birth of his children, he migrated to Virginia between 1780 and 1795.

  • He died in 1821 in Wythe Co., (now Smyth Co.) Virginia.

  • His name appears as "Columbus McDaniel” on his last will and testament.

  • He appears on the 1810 United States Census and was shown living in Wythe Co., Virginia.

  • Based on the Hurlburt history, Columbus was married to Betsy Bishop who apparently died before him as she is not shown on his last will and testament, nor is she included in the 1820 census. While nothing has been found on Betsy, their daughters Teresa and Sarah Salley, named daughters Elizabeth Bishop. The name Bishop was used extensively as a middle name for sons and daughters throughout the various families connected to the McDaniels.  We suspect that Betsy was related to the Bishop family into which her sister Teresa McDaniel married (Elias Bishop, son of Joseph Bishop and Sarah Bouton), but there is no proof of that relationship.

  • Columbus and Betsy had at least seven children as shown below.

Columbus McDaniel will transcription, dated July 20, 1821 - -

(note: daughters Sarah, Orpha, and Elisabeth don't appear in the will, however, their husbands do: John Hutton, Martin Bonham, and Robert McReynolds. The sole daughter mentioned, Tary Wolf [Teresa] was married to Phillip Wolfe in 1802, but it's likely he died prior to 1821. In the following extract the name of John Helton should read "John Hutton." This is clear from the full handwritten will further below. There are inconsistencies between the extract and the handwritten version. First, John Marshall is mentioned separately from the others in the next paragaph and the entry says, "John Marshals heir" (or heirs). Secondly, in the section mentioning John Marshal, the will specifically states that Tary McDaniel's share of the estate will descend to her first two children.)

In the name of God Amen

Columbus McDaniel of the County of Wythe and State of Virginia being weak of body but of sound mind and memory knowing that it is appointed Once for all men to die do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament as follows to wit:

First I give and bequeath to Tary Wolf (late Tary Bishop), Robert McReynolds, Martin Bonham, Solomon McDaniel, John Hutton & Absalom McDaniel an equal part of my Estate real and personal (except as herein after mentioned) which is to be sold by my Executor to the best advantage at two years credit except the land & that to be divided in yearly payments and to be rented untill there will be an opportunity for getting the value of it.

Secondly I give and bequeath to John Marshals heirs an equal part of my estate with those above mentioned. The part I here give Tary Wolf to descend to her first children (William Elias, Betsy Bishop) at her death.

Lastly, I hereby constitute and appoint Solomon McDaniel my Executor of this my last Will and Testament and hereby revoke & make void all other Wills and Testaments by me made.

I witness whereof I have hereby set my hand and seal this 20th day of July 1821.

Columbus McDaniel
(illegible entry)

Acknowledge in presence of

R. Graham
John Dougherty
Andrew H. Cox

At the Court held for Wythe County the 11th day of September 1821.

This the last Will & Testament of Columbus McDanield Dec? was presented in Court & approved by the oaths of Robert Graham, John Dougherty & Andrew H. Cox the subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. And on the motion of Solomon McDaniel the Executor named in the said will who entered into Bond with William Hays & John Dougherty his securities in the sum of three thousand dollars. Conditioned as the law directs and took the oath required by law probate of the said will is granted herein in due form.


W. Mathews CC

View the handwritten will (click here)

We've done extensive research on Columbus McDaniel, but haven't been able to turn up any additional information about him except for some speculation (in the Hurlburt history above) that he may have been related to a Jared McDonald who settled in Upperville, Virginia and died there in 1824. This undocumented speculation goes to the issue of the relationship, if any, between Columbus and Jared since some family names are common between the two. Those include the names Marshall and Solomon. In the late 1980’s my wife and I visited a cemetery in Upperville (we lived in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. at the time) and found several McDonald gravesites. None of the given names, however, matched anything we have on the Columbus McDaniel side. Another piece of speculation is that Columbus’ parents were possibly James McDaniel and Orpha Bowie, but again, there’s no evidence, DNA or otherwise, to support this. 

Children of Columbus McDaniel and Betsy Bishop were:


Teresa Jenny (Tary) McDaniel (see Theresa's children click here)
Also known as Terry, was born in 1775 in Ann Arundel Co., Md. and died before 1850 in Lebanon, Boone Co., Ind. She was married twice: first to Elias Bishop, b. 1765, Ann Arundel Co., Md., and d. 1802, St. Clairs Bottom, Chilhowie, Va. They married on Mar. 17, 1791 in Washington Co., Va. His parents were Joseph Bishop and Sarah Bouton. They had three children:William Elias, Elias and Elizabeth. After her first husband's death, Teresa married Phillip Wolfe, b. 1775, Washington Co., Md., and d. aft. 1830, Boone Co., Ind.  They married on Oct. 11, 1802 in Washington Co., Va. andf had two children: Margaret and Hiram.

Sarah Bishop "Salley" McDaniel (see Sarah Salley's children click here)
Known as Salley, was born in 1778 in Anne Arundel Co., Md. and died July 20, 1860 in Allen Co., Ky. On Oct. 23, 1794 Sarah married Robert M. McReynolds, b. 1771, Caswell Co., N.C. and d. Sep. 20, 1854, Allen Co., Ky. His parents were Roland McReynolds and Agness Ann Rich. Sarah and Robert were said to have16 children, 11 known: Nancy, Elizabeth, William McDaniel, John Wheeler, Mary, Jane, Sally, Orpha D., Robert Y., Melvina M., and Martha.

Orpha McDaniel  (see Orpha's children click here)
Born in 1780 in Anne Arundel Co., Md., died Sep. 23, 1873, in Louisville, Blount Co., Tenn.  In 1808 she married Martin Luther Bonham, b. Aug. 9, 1773 and d. Nov. 23, 1861 in Louisville, Blount Co., Tenn. the son of Benjamin Bonham and Phoeby Oney. They are both buried in Middlesettlements Cemetery, Louisville, Tenn. Martin was previously married to Isabella Calhoun, b. 1773 in Virginia and d. 1806 in Wythe Co., Va., She was the daughter of William Calhoun and Elizabeth Van Hayes.  Martin and Orpha had 11 children:  John Milton, Manley Page, Sarah, Rebecca P., Dr. Nehemiah McDaniel, Martin Gant, James Sidney, Orpha Hansard, Elizabeth H. Arah Belle, and Absalom Thomas.  Martin Luther Bonham had two children with Isabella Calhoun:  Anna and William. 

Solomon Franklin McDaniel  (see Solomon's children click here)
Born Feb. 13, 1784, in Montgomery Co., Va. or possibly Montgomery Co., Md., died Dec. 11, 1841, in Chatham Hill, SmythNancy Agnes Cox, 1793-1858 Co., Va. Solomon Franklin married NancyAgness Cox, b. Jan. 6. 1793 and d. Nov. 22, 1858.  They married on Jul. 1, 1809 in Wythe Co., Va. She was the daughter of William Cox, Sr. and Hannah Lamie. The Coxes and Lamies have a long history in the early settlement of Southwest Virginia.Solomon is recorded as being a justice of the peace in Smyth County, Va. sometime after 1832 when the county was formed out of Wythe County. They had eleven children: Maria, Sarah Sally Bishop, Eleanor S., Elizabeth H., Catherine Virginia, Nancy Agnes, Columbus Franklin, Amanda Susan, William Hamilton, Charles M., and James Van Buren.  

Amon McDaniel
Born between 1787 in Wythe Co., Va., and died about 1813 in Wythe Co., Va.  Amon was not married and had no childeren.  Death was said to have been by drowning.

Absalom McDaniel  (see Absalom's children click here)
He was born 1792 in Chatham Hill, Va., and died Oct. 16, 1829 in Vicksburg, Miss.  Absalom married Elizabeth Hays, b. 1801, Wythe Co., Va. and d. bef. 1820, Chariton Co., Mo. (Cameron Cemetery, Livingstone Co., Mo.), daughter of Charles Hays and Nancy Gilmore (neighboring landowners).  Absalom and Elizabeth had two children:  Amon and Pleasant.  After Elizabeth's death, Absalom married Mary Wolfskill, b. Apr. 15, 1802, Madison Co., Ky., d. Jan. 20, 1895, Livingstone Co., Mo.  They had five children:  Elizabeth, William, Milton, Sarah Jane, and Mary Ann.

Elisabeth McDaniel (see Elisabeth's children click here)
Born in 1794 in Wythe Co., Va., and died in Missouri btwn. 1838-1840.  She married John Hutton, b. 1795, Washington Co., Va., d. aft. 1838.  They married on Sep. 12, 1815 in Wythe Co., Va.  Elizabeth and John had 7 children:  Edward, Amon McDonald, Sarah Bernetta, John Milton, Francis "Fannie", Nancy Mary, and Columbus Jefferson

(Note:  A number of family trees list John Hutton's wife as Catherine Phillips.  This reflects the Hutton family research done by Mr. Roy Hutton Ball who published his manuscript, "Pioneer Heritage:  genealogy of one brranch of the Hutton family" in 1960.  Recent research has shown that the John Hutton who married Catherine Phillips was the son of Leonard Hutton, uncle of our John Hutton.  They married Dec. 11, 1817 in Washington Co., Va.)


Of their known descendants, Columbus and Betsy have 7 children, 53 grandchildren, 316 great grand children, and 919 great, great grandchildren related by blood, and many more who are not yet known.