Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Vaughn Family History Archive Home Page

This website was launched July 4, 2012 and was developed out of the original story of Jim & Mary Vaughn, early explorers and settlers into the Mississippi Territory,  as recounted in Jack Penn Vaughn's "Hewers Of The Wilderness-1st Edition". Jim Vaughn is my great, great grandfather and the story continues in the newest publication, "Hewers Of The Wilderness-Special Edition."  I hope you enjoy this website and the story of Jim Vaughn family and the Vaughn family in Ray Vaughn

The Vaughns    Welcome to The Vaughn Family History Archive website established to provide research information and the known history of the Vaughans/Vaughns in America descended from Welsh, Irish and Scottish ancestry and probably English. My recent DNA test reveals a lot of Viking ancestry.....35 %, which is a surprise. The rest is British Isles (England, Ireland). There has been a historical account suggesting Native American mingling in the family line,  but recent DNA testing has demonstrated that if the Native American connection was ever there, it is now almost gone. One family member has tested with a trace of Native American DNA recently. This individual is a great, great grandson of Jim & Mary Vaughn. None of the other grandsons or great grandsons tested so far show this Native American DNA connection.   This website is a beginning effort to trace the Vaughans/Vaughns  in my family line from  1636 Jamestown, VA. as they dispersed through North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and many other locations by the mid 1800s. It is focused on those Vaughns who settled in Alabama and Mississippi.

Publications:  "Hewers Of The Wilderness 2nd Edition" went out of print at the end of 2013. Hewers Of The Wilderness-Special Edition will continue to be published through July 2014. If you want a copy be sure to get it by the end of June 2014.  Coming in February...."Hewers Of The Wilderness-Special Edition" in hardbound edition.  Check back for the purchase link to be updated in Jan. 2014.  There will be only 100 copies of this hardbound edition and each copy will have a 1 of 100 notation.  It is expected to become a collector item quickly.

Note:  The book is coming back into print. Check back soon. Hewers Of The Wilderness-Special Edition.
The Story of Jim (1804-1857) and Mary Vaughn
in Alabama & Mississippi Indian Territory as settlers.

Buy the book at this link.

Update:  June 2013: There is need to point out that new findings by our genealogist have traced the family origins back successfully and convincingly to John Vaughan, father of Joel Vaughan, Sr. John Vaughan was born in Spotsylvania, Va. in 1727 and died in Rowan, NC in 1771.  The forefathers preceding John Vaughan (Jasper, James & Jonathan Vaughan), as laid out in John Earl Vaughn and William Conner's earlier writings are either inaccurate,  or at this point, un-provable. New DNA matches point to a possible connection with the Ishman Vaughan line from Virginia. The paternal family tree page on this website will be updated soon with these changes regarding Jasper, James & Jonathan Vaughan. 

Special update about new discoveries and research as related to the Vaughns ancestry quest.
Most of the information at the beginning of the Vaughan/Vaughn family tree in America (1636-1740) is based on two books by  family authors, John Earle Vaughn titled "Crusade In Education"  chapter 1 "My Heritage" page 14 & 15 published in 1971 and from the book by another family author, The Conner Family by W.E. Conner, page 51, Chapter 6 "Paternal Line" - published in 1975. Both of these books place the original grandfather, Johnathan arriving at Jamestown, VA. in 1636 from Scotland. Contained in these two original and rare publications is a  specific family origins outline by John Earle and W.E. Conner indicating our great grandfather's arrival at Jamestown, VA. in 1636 from Scotland and naming the paternal line members over the next 140 years (the first (5) generations of Vaughns in America);  they are Johnathan (Jonathan), James, Jasper, John & Jerome (Joel Sr.).   We are making a request for anyone who has knowledge or any information on John Earle Vaughn's research notes and references to contact us so this information can be traced and validated.  After recent research work with a Scottish genealogist seeking  records of Johnathan's origin and departure from Scotland to Virginia failed to produce any evidence of any Vaughan/Vaughn in Scotland between 1500-1650. This included searches of all births, deaths, marriages and baptisms in all the country's parish records. We must now conclude that the references of Johnathan having come from Scotland to Virginia may be inaccurate. In our further study of this discrepancy I point to the link at the bottom of this page " Where Did The Vaughns Originate ?" Everything  points to Wales. Web research shows that most of the Vaughns who immigrated to America during the 17th & 18th century came from Wales and specifically from the area around  Tretower Castle (link). Some of them immigrated to Ireland before coming to America. Some immigrated through a London, England departure route.  It's interesting to note that the distance from Cardiff, Wales to London, England is only 150 miles. Now having said all this we are presently engaging a professional genealogist in Virginia specializing in ancestral family trees to begin an investigation to determine the family tree origin in America and it is our plan to take the investigation across to Western Europe if we can determine exactly who the original family patriarch is and where he came from. 

The Vaughn Family History Archive website established to provide research information and the known history of the Vaughans/Vaughns in Alabama and Mississippi.  They arrived in Eastern America in the early 1600s to Virginia and eventually dispersed through North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and many other locations by the mid 1800s.  This website  looks back over 10 generations to our earliest American ancestor,  Jonathan (Johnathan) Vaughan who arrived in Virginia in 1636 and discovers how the Vaughans/Vaughns  migrated across the new frontier territories to settle in new homes as early pioneers in America.   

A significant part of the work on this website is a result of the family history author, Jack Vaughn who through the stories related by his great grand mother Le Vicy Jane Taylor Vaughn produced a written work in 1958 titled "Hewers Of The Wilderness."  This book is an account of Jim and Mary Vaughan's life as they moved  from Speeds Mill, Alabama to  Mississippi and settled at Wahalak, MS. on Choctaw Indian lands that had been opened up through the Treaty Of Dancing Rabbit Creek in the 1830s.  The Vaughns were hewers in the wilderness in this new and promising territory exploring and establishing homes in a pristine land that had previously been the domain of the Choctaw Indian nation.  This will be an ongoing project that takes years to develop and it may never be finished. So be patient with our work and please check back for updates and if you have information of interest to offer as content, please contact us at

This site is dedicated to discovering and archiving information about the Vaughn/Vaughan family who arrived in Virginia in 1636.  The Vaughns left Scottland in the early 1600's for a new life in America seeking land and the freedom to acquire personal wealth. In England only 1 in 10 people owned land. Unless you were born into wealth you were unlikely to acquire land or wealth in England.  The New World held many attractions.  One could own land and with their own hands build a future acquiring wealth through personal endeavor and hard work.  These early immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and other European locations sailed across the stormy Atlantic aboard the tiny sailing ships, built for 100 passengers, but sometimes carrying 400 or 500, ships which were to become known as the "White Sails". The overcrowded ships, sometimes spending two months at sea, were wracked with disease. Those that survived the elements were often striken with small pox, dysentery and typhoid, sometimes landing with only 60-70 % of the original passenger list. Our family ancestor, Jonathan Vaughan arrived at Jamestown, Virginia on such a ship sometime in 1636.  His passage was paid for through a contract of indenture because he did not have the money to buy passage for himself or land when he arrived in America.  Like most of the emigrants he was poor but he had a dream and a plan to prosper in the new world. In the expanded pages links at the top of this website can be found a more extensive chronological detail on  the Vaughan/Vaughn paternal family tree descended from Jonathan Vaughan relating greater detail of the discoveries our research has illuminated on the Vaughans in America.   

The difficulties in tracing family history   During the 1600's- the mid 1800's the literacy rate in rural America is estimated as low as 30-45 %.  The common man in most cases could not read or write so they left no personal written records of their life. When these early Americans interacted with agencies in the clergy, government, legal proceedings, attorneys, etc.  a written record was made of these activities.  Mainly in marriages, births, census counts, pensions, land acquisitions and deeds. Tracking down these rare documents and records from the 17th and 18th century is a tedious process as many of these records are lost or destroyed. This leaves huge gaps in the history of early Americans that challenge the validation of the family tree line and often makes our family oral history very hard if not impossible to prove.
What is the purpose of researching family history?  I have been asked this question before so here are some of my reasons for pursuing and recording information about family history. A vast number of people today who are under 40 years old do not know their family history or origins beyond their great grand parents. There is a disconnect from their grandfathers. Many people today just don't think this knowledge is important or they just don't care.  This is especially true of the young people living in America today.  Already so much of our family histories have been lost forever and most likely will never be rediscovered.  In the fast paced world we live in today with movies, computer games  cell phones and texting,  people don't take the time as a family to share their heritage. During the 50's and 60's families would dine  together at the end of the day around the dinner table and sit afterwards in their living rooms hearing stories about their family history from their parents and grand parents.  Today our young people are too busy even to share the meal.....other interest intervene and the families lose their cohesiveness...the connection to their past. 
Modern parents don't want to exert parental authority to change this,  so it's tolerated.  Information and interests that were present in the 50's to 60's is disappearing fast in today's world and soon these resources will be lost, forever.  It is very important today to discover what we can about who we are.  Our origins. This provides a more compete picture of who we really are, a continuity of our family, a connection to our ancestors and how their lives shaped  our lives today. Our very existence is because of our grand parent's choices.  We should do all we can to discover and preserve this information for ourselves and for our grand children.
1840's Choctaw Indian hut Photo 
Choctaw Reservation Oklahoma.
In East Mississippi Jim & Mary Vaughn settled into an abandoned Choctaw Indian hut and this became their first home in this place called Wahalak.  Today this is the site of Twin Cemetery and the final resting place for Jim & Mary Vaughan.

Map of Choctaw Indian Territory in West Alabama & Mississippi (The Mississippi Territory) at the time of Jim & Mary Vaughn's arrival to the Indian Territory opened by the US Government for settlement in  the 1830's.

Vaughn Name Spelling  (Vaughn and Vaughan) 
The original spelling of our surname is Vaughan. Over the years some have dropped the 2nd A and changed the spelling to Vaughn.  This is the case in my family line.  My gread grandfather, John Albert Vaughn was born J. A. Vaughan. He later dropped the 2nd A and spelled our name Vaughan.  All of our family line before him spelled it Vaughan and all since him spell our name Vaughn.

Our family's origins are Scottish. Many members of the Vaughan/Vaughn paternal family tree have names beginning with a  the letter J.  Jonathan, John, Jasper, James, Joel. These names appear over and over in the family tree and frequently we see the name J. A. Vaughn with a middle name beginning with A.   I believe that this is taken from the ancient Scottish practice in naming children. This practice is explained in following paragraphs.

Sons: The oldest son was named for the paternal grandfather. The second son was named for the maternal grandfather. The third son for the father. The fourth born son after the father's oldest brother. The fifth born son after the mother's oldest brother. 

Daughters: The oldest daughter for the maternal grandmother.  The second daughter for the paternal grandmother. Third born daughters after the mother. Fourth born daughters after the mother's oldest sister. Fifth born daughters after the father's oldest sister.  

It was common to give sons and daughters the middle name denoting the mother's maiden surname. If a child died during the patent's child bearing years it was common to use that name again for another child.

Information Resources for this website include; 
"The Conner Family" by W. E. Conner published 1975
"Crusade in Education" chapter 1 titled My Heritage - Published 1971 by John Earle Vaughn
Hewers Of The Wilderness-1st Edition by Jack Vaughn - Published 1958
Family History Genealogy Research by Lynn Till
Family Bibles
Cavaliers & Pioneers - Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents & Grants 1623-1666 Vol. 1

Website Research by:  Lynn Vaughn Till
Post by Ray Vaughn
Vaughn Family History Webmaster