Two Southern U.S. Dutton Families Find Their Y-DNA Roots, Part 1: Samuel Dutton of Lawrence County, Alabama, and the Duttons of Blount County, Alabama

Since the time I began my research on the Dutton family about twenty-five years ago, there have been multiple Dutton families here in the southern U.S. and even in my region of North Alabama that contradicted my notion that “with a name like Dutton, they all must be related.” Two families in particular have been here in the midst of my Zachariah Dutton family all this time, yet by all appearances were not related: the family of Henry G. Dutton (born about 1829 in Georgia, died 1911 in Morgan County, Alabama), and the family of Samuel Dutton (born perhaps about 1780 in Pennsylvania, died 1822 in Lawrence County, Alabama) and his brother Aaron Dutton (born about 1785 in Pennsylvania, died after 1850 in Jefferson County, Alabama). Who they did relate to has largely been a mystery, until last year when I was able to conduct Y-DNA tests on both of them. The fascinating answers I discovered renewed my original assertion, that maybe with a name like Dutton, they are all related.

Samuel Dutton of Lawrence County, Alabama

My first task years ago as a researcher of the Dutton family was to try to put together who all the Duttons in my area were and how they connected. The family story handed down is that there were several Dutton brothers who came to Alabama from North Carolina. I discovered my William (b. 1777); John (b. 1778), who was his next door neighbor and close in age; Edmond (b. 1793) and Stephen (b. 1792), who were also near neighbors and close to one to one another in age. My cousin Julie Dutton discovered Zachariah Dutton’s will, which confirmed that these were in fact all brothers.

Samuel Dutton, while living in Lincoln County, Tennessee, served in the Mississippi Territory Militia during the War of 1812, defending Fort Hampton. (Source)

And then there was Samuel. Zachariah’s will did name a son Samuel, and sure enough, there was Samuel Dutton, an early settler of Lawrence County, Alabama. He was there quite early, appearing on the 1820 census in Lawrence County, before any of the other Duttons were there. He had a large family, but then most of them were gone from Lawrence County by the time other Duttons were arriving.

Samuel Dutton appeared to have been born before about 1780, and married Ellenor Owens on 5 Nov 1798 in Washington County, Kentucky. He had a large family of children:

  1. Thomas Dutton, born about 1800 in Kentucky, died about 1827 in Lawrence County, Alabama; married Mary Brooks about 1820.
  2. David Dutton, born about 1802, died about 1823 in Lincoln County, Tennessee.
  3. Margaret Dutton, born about 1804 in Kentucky, died before 1827; married Joseph Rhodes on 22 Nov 1823 in Lawrence County, Alabama.
  4. Richard Dutton, born about 1805 in Kentucky, died 1830 in Washington County, Kentucky; married Mary Taber in Jan 1825 (bonded 13 Jan 1825) in Sumner County, Tennessee.
  5. Priscilla Dutton, born about 1807, died about 1830; married John Hughes.
  6. Deborah Dutton, born about 1809 in Kentucky, died after 1850; married William McDaniel.
  7. Elizabeth Dutton, born about 1810 in Kentucky, died after 1850; married Robert Crayton on 18 Jan 1832 in Lawrence County, Alabama.
  8. Owens Dutton, born about 1811, died before 1830.
  9. Sarah Dutton, born about 1812, died after 1834; married James Coulson on 24 Dec 1833 in Lawrence County, Alabama.
  10. Aaron Dutton, born about 1817, died about 1847 in Van Buren, Itawamba County, Mississippi; married Elizabeth G. Threlkeld on 21 Dec 1843 in Lawrence County, Alabama.
  11. Perkins Dutton, born about 1919, died before 1830.

But from the start, several things about this Samuel Dutton made me uncomfortable:

  • Samuel Dutton’s land was several miles away from the tight-knit community where Zachariah Dutton’s other sons had all lived.
  • Samuel Dutton had a will, substantial property, and slaves; my other Duttons had none of those things.
  • The naming patterns did not seem to fit. Samuel Dutton had a son named Thomas, as was common in Zachariah’s family; but he also had sons named Richard, Owens, David, Aaron, and Perkins, and daughters named Deborah and Priscilla—none of which names occurred in Zachariah’s family.
  • He had come to Alabama by way of north-central Kentucky, having married his wife in Washington County, Kentucky, in 1798, while I could not document any of Zachariah’s other children as having been in Kentucky. His son, Richard, went back to Kentucky.
  • He appeared to be slightly older than Zachariah Dutton’s other sons, having married in 1798, had a family of children, and died in about 1822.
  • None of his family remained in Lawrence County or had any apparent relations with the rest of Zachariah Dutton’s family.
Relative position of Samuel Dutton’s U.S. land patent to the patents of Zachariah Dutton’s sons William Dutton and Edmond Dutton and grandson Thomas Dutton.

None of these by itself was enough to cause concern, but together, they began to mount to questions. Still, I went with it, listing this Samuel as Zachariah’s son for probably a year or two. Researchers before me, Darlene Cole and Julie Dutton, had done so, and I was still too green to question what others before me had accepted.

And then, as I searched and reached out to cousins on the Internet, I met Judy Norwood Knight, James L. Dutton, Barbara Dutton Britt, and others, who set me straight. They had another Samuel Dutton, named Samuel Sneed Dutton, who had remained in North Carolina, who they claimed was Zachariah Dutton’s son. And they quickly convinced me they were right:

  • Samuel Sneed Dutton was born about 1797 in North Carolina, fitting as the youngest son of Zachariah.
  • He named sons Zachariah, Alexander, Edmund, Stephen, William, and John—after his father and six of his seven brothers.
  • He served in the same War of 1812 militia company as Zachariah’s son Edmund Dutton.
  • Edmund Dutton, from Lawrence County, Alabama, wrote a letter in support of Samuel Sneed Dutton’s War of 1812 pension application.

This was about 1998, years before autosomal DNA testing became available. But DNA has since proven that Samuel Sneed Dutton in Anson County, North Carolina, was the son of Zachariah Dutton—and the Samuel Dutton who died in Lawrence County in 1822 was not an immediate relation.

It became clear, though, that Samuel Dutton in Lawrence did have a connection to another Alabama Dutton family: to the Duttons of Blount County.

Aaron Dutton of Jefferson County, Alabama, and the Duttons of Blount County

I discovered Aaron Dutton quite early in my research, too, in the process of looking up every Dutton family in the state in 1850. Aaron Dutton, age 65, born in Pennsylvania, was living with his wife, Margaret, age 60, born in Kentucky, in the household of Adam and Mahala Boyd, in Jefferson County, Alabama.

1850 Federal Census, Jefferson County, Alabama (page 202B stamped), showing Aaron Dutton in the household of Adam Boyd.

In the days when online genealogy was in its infancy, we accessed databases distributed on CD-ROMs. And in a database of Kentucky marriage records, I found:

  1. Samuel Dutton to Ellenor Owens, 5 Nov 1798, Washington County, Kentucky.
  2. Deborah Dutton to Simon Malone, 8 Jul 1801, Green County, Kentucky.
  3. Meriam Dutton to James Pogue, 29 Apr 1803, Green County, Kentucky.
  4. Aaron Dutton to Margaret Powell, 5 Mar 1804, Green County, Kentucky.
  5. Polly Dutton to Elisha Chaney, 2 Dec 1807, Green County, Kentucky.
Green and Washington County in 1826.

This was clearly the same Samuel as the one in Lawrence, and the same Aaron as the one in Jefferson. Washington County and Green County, Kentucky, were adjacent until the creation of Marion County in 1834. I don’t know if I realized that then, but it was easy to see that they were close to one another. In the meantime, there were other facts that suggested a connection between Samuel Dutton in Lawrence and Aaron Dutton in Jefferson:

  • Samuel named a son Aaron and a daughter Deborah.
  • Aaron named a son Samuel and a daughter Deborah.
  • Samuel and Aaron shared a son-in-law. Margaret Dutton, daughter of Samuel Dutton, married Joseph Rhodes on 22 Nov 1823 in Lawrence County. She soon died, and Joseph Rhodes married Harriet Dutton, daughter of Aaron Dutton, on 15 Apr 1827 in Jefferson County.
Aaron Dutton also appears to have served in the Indian wars, though the full service record is not online. (Source)

Another question was whether Aaron Dutton was connected to the Duttons of Blount County, Alabama. There was a large family of Duttons who appeared on the census from 1840 or so on, in Blount County, most descended from a Hardin Dutton (born 1813 in Tennessee). Jefferson County was adjacent to Blount County. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but Aaron Dutton and Hardin Dutton both had government land patents in both the northern extent of Jefferson County, and the southern extent of Blount County, their land adjacent to each other.

Topographic map showing the locations of Aaron Dutton’s U.S. land patents (blue) and Harden Dutton’s (magenta). County line between Blount and Jefferson counties is shown dotted.

There were other reasons for thinking Aaron Dutton and Hardin Dutton might be connected. Hardin appeared to fit into a list of children for Aaron Dutton, based on Jefferson and Blount marriage records. He was born in Tennessee, as were Aaron’s other supposed children:

  1. Polly Dutton, born about 1807, married James Speakman on 26 Feb 1823 in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  2. Samuel Dutton, born about 1809 in Tennessee, married Nancy Elliot on 26 Mar 1828 in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  3. Harriet Dutton, born about 1810, married Joseph Rhodes on 7 Apr 1827 in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  4. Minerva Dutton, born 1814 in Tennessee, married Alexander Price on 3 Jan 1835 in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  5. Hardin Dutton, born 1815 in Tennessee, married Susanna Elliot on 18 Mar 1834 in Blount County, Alabama.
  6. Anna Dutton, born about 1816, married William Blackburn on 31 Jul 1833 in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  7. Mahala Dutton, born about 1819 in Tennessee, married Adam Boyd on 18 Feb 1839 in Jefferson County, Alabama.

Notably, it would appear both Samuel Dutton and Hardin Dutton married Elliot girls. I didn’t have access to scans of these marriage bonds at the time, but now that they are online, I can see that Samuel Dutton was bondsman for Hardin Dutton’s marriage. For Samuel Dutton’s marriage, Aaron Dutton gave an affidavit of consent for his son’s marriage. Aaron Dutton also gave affidavits of consent for Harriet Dutton (this affidavit was provided to the judge by “Samuel Dutton Jr.”) and Minerva Dutton. Hardin Dutton, “son and heir” of Aaron Dutton, was appointed administrator of Aaron Dutton’s estate following his death in 1853.

So the line was solid connecting Hardin Dutton and the Blount County Duttons to Aaron Dutton. And the line connecting Aaron Dutton in Jefferson County to Samuel Dutton in Lawrence County appeared at least heavily dotted.

Samuel Dutton, Cordwainer

This was again about 1998 when I worked on this family. I was in communication with several descendants of both families, but gradually lost touch; I’m not even sure if they’re still alive. Sonya Mims, who descended from Samuel Dutton; Saralyn Trusty, who descended from Aaron Dutton; Sue Dutton Rogers, who had a great interest in all southern Dutton families, hoping to find the origins of her own. I will make an effort, once this article is posted, to get back in touch with them.

In the past couple years, after I became the sole admin of the Dutton Surname DNA Project, I began to take a more active interest in the wider Dutton family, the origins and interconnections of Dutton families other than my own Zachariah’s. I was really guilty in earlier years, even in the time I was corresponding with these ladies, of dismissing other families as “not mine” and even treating them as outsiders to my Zachariah Dutton group. I deeply regret my exclusivity and territoriality. But I hope the work I’m doing now can make up for those missteps.

I was entering some of these other southern Dutton families into WikiTree, looking up sources on FamilySearch to document them, when I realized that, naturally, FamilySearch has been scanning and putting many of these documents online. The Kentucky marriage records in particular, which years ago I only had access to through CD-ROM indices, were now available online.

And I quickly discovered that those marriage records held the keys to unlock this family.

July the 5th 1801. This is to sartify that Deborah Dutton is willing for hir and Symon Malon to git married. Samuel Dutton. Deborah Dutton. John Southern, wit.

April the 25th 1803. This is to certify that I am willing for my daughter Mariam Dutton and James Poage to git married. Samuel Dutton. Deborah Dutton. Absalom White, wit.

The parents of the set of Dutton children who married in Green and Washington counties, Kentucky, between 1798 and 1807 were Samuel Dutton and Deborah Dutton. It was remarkable to have the names of both parents on these permission letters!

Yes, this only gives definitive proof for two of the girls, but it is not a far leap to infer that Samuel Dutton (b. ~1780), who named a daughter Deborah and a son Aaron, was the son of Samuel Dutton and Deborah Dutton. Aaron Dutton (b. 1785) also had as his bondsman Absalom White, who witnessed the permission for Mariam Dutton above. Absalom White was probably a brother-in-law: the will of Samuel Dutton Jr. (d. 1822) named as executor a nephew, Nathan White. And here, just discovered is further proof: In an 1815 bond in Lincoln County, Tennessee, Samuel Dutton and Aaron Dutton together bound themselves “to maintain Deborah Malone so long as she liveth and Simeon Malone so long as he liveth in this country [Tennessee State], its being for value received of them.” The bond was witnessed by Absalom White and James Pogue—tying together four of the five Green-Washington marriages.

And from there, the dominoes fell. Searching for Samuel Dutton and Deborah Dutton brought matches from the Pennsylvania Quaker records:

The Women Friends bring a complaint against Deborah Gregg for marrying out of the unity of Friends, to one Samuel Dutton. This meeting appoints Dugal Cameron & Thomas Swayne to join with them to pay her a visit, in order to convince her of her misconduct & report their service to next meeting.

Quaker Monthly Meeting at Chester, Pennsylvania, 3 March 1768, p. 348.

Chester Meeting enters a complaint against Deborah the daughter of Richard Greg, now the wife of Samuel Dutton, for her outgoing in marriage. This meeting appoints Martha Martin & Rebecca Levis to join with the men friends to pay her a visit and make report to next meeting.

Quaker Monthly Meeting at Chester, Women’s Minutes, 25 Mar 1768, p. 347.

Could it be the same Samuel and Deborah? How many Samuel Duttons from Pennsylvania, marrying women named Deborah, could there be?

And the search discovered a Samuel Dutton from Pennsylvania, of the appropriate age, in the estate record of his father. John Dutton, who died in Chester County, Pennsylvania, about 1749, left a widow, Elizabeth, and minor children Elizabeth, Mary, Samuel, and David.

Gilbert Cope and the Duttons of Pennsylvania

And this estate record, if it could possibly be the same Samuel Dutton, connected this family squarely to the storied Duttons of Pennsylvania.

Title page from Cope.

Since I was a fledgling researcher, I had heard the names of Gilbert Cope and John Dutton of Pennsylvania mentioned in Dutton circles with reverenced tones. Cope (1840–1928), a well-known historian and genealogist of Chester County, Pennsylvania, published an 1871 book, Genealogy of the Dutton Family of Pennsylvania, that became the Holy Grail for American Dutton researchers. The reason Cope was so highly valued is that he represented an early and apparently authoritative account of a Dutton family going back to the 17th century. I only wished my Dutton family could be so well connected.

But here I had definitely taken a southern Dutton family back to Pennsylvania, back to Chester County, and even back to the Quaker records. Did Cope at last have something for me?

Indeed he did. Samuel was not a very common name in the Duttons of Pennsylvania. There were only four Samuel Duttons in the whole book, and only one born in the 18th century:

Children of John Dutton (No. 18,) and Elizabeth Dunlap

64. John. 65. Elizabeth, md. Thomas Casey of Lower Chichester, blacksmith. 66. Mary. 67. Samuel, “cordwainer,” was living in 1767. No descendants of the foregoing have been obtained. 68. David, it is supposed, married in 1772, Lydia, dau. of Jacob and Ann Sharpless … She was disowned for her marriage … (50)

This immediately appeared to be the same family described in the estate record. Continuing back to John (No. 18): “John Dutton died intestate and letters of administration on his estate were granted to Elizabeth, his widow, and Richard Dutton, March 21, 1748-49. Hugh Lynn and Hugh Trimble were appointed guardians of the children, Dec. 1749” (45).

John was the son of Edward Dutton (No. 4) and Gwin (Williams) Dutton, and grandson of John Dutton (No. 1), the immigrant. John (No. 4), Samuel’s father, had left the Society of Friends, “was married by a Priest, and also hath joined himself to the Prisbitirian Society” (45). Hence the reason why good Quaker girls like Deborah Gregg and Lydia Sharpless would have been disowned for marrying his sons.

A cordwainer was a shoemaker.

There seemed to be a solid case for identifying Samuel Dutton Sr. and his wife Deborah, of Green County, Kentucky, as Samuel Dutton, “cordwainer,” and Deborah Gregg. But to make certain, I wanted to prove it with DNA.

Connected with Y-DNA

After a little bit of looking, I recruited J.H.D. from a Blount County, Alabama, genealogy group on Facebook. He was a well-documented descendant of Hardin Dutton, son of Aaron Dutton, and was perfect for the case.

I had previously identified several Y-DNA tests in the Dutton Surname DNA Project as belonging to the John Dutton of Pennsylvania family; but none had been tested up to the most advanced test, the Big Y-700. I had no proof of my hypothesis identifying Samuel Dutton of Kentucky as Samuel Dutton, cordwainer—but I felt confident enough to “go all in” for a “Hail Mary” pass.

Descent and most recent common ancestor of haplogroup R-FGB13478. (From Discover report.)

It didn’t let me down. The Big Y for J.H.D. proved a match through and through to the other tests from John Dutton. Even more than that, it was a Big Y match to Michael R. Dutton, the only other Big Y tester in the group—descendant not of the Pennsylvania Duttons, but of the Duttons of Charles County, Maryland. They both tested into the Y-DNA haplogroup R-FGC13446. Even more than that, J.H.D.’s test carved out a new haplogroup for both sets of Duttons, R-FGC13478.

Both M.R.D. and J.H.D. being R-FGC13478 means that they definitively shared a common male ancestor estimated to have been born about 1278 CE. Since this group also matches men named Warburton (descendants of another branch of R-FGC13446), then a strong argument can be made that all of them are descendants of Odard of Dutton, the Norman founder of the Duttons of Dutton in Cheshire. Adam de Dutton (born ca. 1157), a great-grandson of Odard (died ca. 1086), married and moved to Warburton, and his descendants took Warburton as their name. So Duttons and Warburtons sharing a common male ancestor, estimated to have been born about 1050, is very suggestive that their common ancestor might have been Odard.

Y-DNA STR comparison for R-DF98 England-Penn.-Md. (Dutton-Warburton) group, from Dutton Surname DNA Project public results page. (There are more STRs than can fit on the screen.)
Dutton Big Y Block Tree, as of 19 May 2024. Each block represents a group of co-occurring SNPs, and bottom blocks represent terminal haplogroups.


So in the end—with Y-DNA showing a definitive match from J.H.D., descendant of Hardin Dutton, Aaron Dutton, and Samuel Dutton, to other descendants of the John Dutton of Pennsylvania; with an estate record connecting Samuel Dutton to John Dutton (d. 1749), and Gilbert Cope connecting John to his Quaker forebears—the path from the Alabama families of Samuel Dutton in Lawrence County and Aaron Dutton in Blount and Jefferson, back to the Duttons of Pennsylvania, seems proven to my satisfaction, and I hope even to the likes of many lineage societies. And it goes to show that despite my original dismissal that these “other” Dutton families in Alabama were not kin to mine, perhaps they really were somewhere far back.

Next time: Part 2, connecting the family of Henry G. Dutton (c. 1829–1911.)

Author: Joseph T. Richardson

Joseph has been researching the Dutton family for over 20 years, and has had this website almost as long. He applies his background in history and computer science to unraveling genealogical mysteries. He lives in Danville, Morgan County, Alabama, not far from where his Dutton ancestors first settled in the 1830s.

3 thoughts on “Two Southern U.S. Dutton Families Find Their Y-DNA Roots, Part 1: Samuel Dutton of Lawrence County, Alabama, and the Duttons of Blount County, Alabama”

Leave a Reply