The Heritage of Daniel Haston


Jacob Neff (Nave or Knave) of Knox County, TN

From pages 144-145, Volume II, of  From the Rhine to the Shenandoah by Daniel W. Bly (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1996).  The Neff material from the book written by Professor Bly appeared in the September 2003 issue of NEFF NEWS, published by the Neff Family Historical Society, Inc., with the author's permission.

        JACOB NEFF (of Francis #7) was born on the Neff homestead on the North Fork of the Shenandoah in 1766, married MARY STRICKLER, 24 Aug. 1793 (date on original bond) and died in Tennessee in late 1804.  Mary was born in 1777, daughter of Jacob and Magdalena Moomaw Strickler and died after 1809.  Children:
           (1)  MAGDALENA NEFF, b. 1794/5, m. Henry Houser, 1814.
           (2)  JACOB NEFF, b. 1796, m. Jane Bussey, 1817, to Rockingham Co. Va.
           (3)  AARON NEFF, b. 7 Apr. 1798, m. Sarah Gaines, 1819.
           (4)  ELIZABETH NEFF, b. c. 1803,  m. Daniel Miller, 1822.

        According to personal property tax records Jacob came of age in 1787, putting his birth in 1766.  He and Mary married in 1793 when she was only in her sixteenth year, according to a consent note by her guardian, Samuel Strickler (from the original bond, State Library, Richmond, Va.  The 1794 date on the published record is erroneous).  Samuel Strickler was appointed guardian of Mary, daughter of Jacob Strickler, 28 July 1791 and also received money from Strickler's estate on her behalf (Shenandoah. County Will Book "D", pp. 44 and 68). Soon after marriage, along with Henry Lonas, Jacob Lonas and Daniel Stickley, all from the Neff neighborhood in Shenandoah County, Jacob went to Knox County, Tennessee and purchased land.  Francis Neff mentioned in his will that he had given his deceased son, Jacob, money to buy land near Knoxville, Tennessee and was therefore leaving less to Jacob's heirs. 

         It is not known if Jacob actually moved to Tennessee with his family.  He was living in Shenandoah County when he wrote a short will in March 1802.  In this will he referred to himself as Jacob Neff of Shenandoah County, made no mention of his wife and left everything to his beloved children, Magdalena, Jacob and Aaron.  His father, Francis Neff was to be executor of the will.  Mary was in fact still living at that time but it is not known why he made no mention of her.  Mary was named in the will of her brother Isaac in 1803 and was still living as late as November 1809 when she was named in her sister Magdalena's will (Shenandoah. County Will Books "F", p. 327 and "G", p. 409).

        Jacob moved to Tennessee soon after writing this will and died little more than two years later at the end of 1804.  Jacob Lonas appeared in the Knox County Court in January 1805 to qualify as administrator of the estate of Jacob Neff "deceased" and an inventory of personal property was filed at that time (Knox Co. Tenn. Wills and Adm. Vol. II, p. 164).  His property consisted of many specialized carpentry and cabinet making tools as well as some furniture and personal effects, indicating clearly that he was living and working there at the time of his death.  A sale of this property was held and report was made to the Court in October, 1805 (Knox Co. Tenn. Wills and Adm. Vol. II, p. 183)  There are no records of his orphan children or widow in Knox County).  The will written in 1802 was presented to the Shenandoah County Court in September 1805 but was unrecorded (file of unrecorded wills, Shenandoah County Court House).  The Jacob "Knave" estate was taxed for 113 acres in Knox County, Tenn. in 1806 and Jacob Lonas was named as the executor (Pollyanna Creekmore, Tennessee Taxpayers, [Easley, S.C., 1980], p. 83).  In a deed dated 10 Oct. 1808 Jacob Lonas, having paid off the debts of the estate and been repaid, deeded Jacob's land back to his heirs.

        Jacob Neff named three children in his 1802 will but his share of his father's estate was distributed four ways in 1825 to Henry Houser, Jacob Neff, Aaron Neff and Daniel Miller (Shenandoah County Will Book "O", p. 113).  It is obvious then, that Jacob fathered another child between March 1802 and his death in late 1804.  The children may have lived a short while with their father in Tennessee but they grew up in Shenandoah County and most married there.  John Neff, younger brother of Jacob, has several children over ten in his family in the 1810 census and Francis Neff had a female under age 10 in his household.  In November 1812, one month after the death of Francis Neff, Aaron Neff, "orphan of Jacob" was bound to his uncle, Benjamin Gaines, to learn the trade of a blacksmith.  The indenture states that he was 14 years old, 7 Apr. 1812 (Shenandoah County Minute Book 1810-1816, Nov. Court).  Aaron married in Shenandoah County but by 1830 had returned to Knox County, Tenn.  Jacob Jr. lived in Rockingham County and died before 1840.  His daughter, Mary, b. 1818, married her cousin, Henry Neff Kagey.  Jacob's youngest child, Elizabeth, who married Daniel Miller in Clark County, Ohio, also lived with Benjamin and Magdalena Gaines after the death of her grandfather and went to Ohio with them before 1820.  Jacob Jr. married Jane Bussey and lived in Rockingham County.  His daughter, Mary, b. 1818, married her cousin, Henry N. Kagey.

See the Correspondence
Between Wayne Haston and Bill Neff Regarding this Jacob Neff