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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is the original John Jessee Land?
  • How do I get to Jessee's Mill and Other Jessee Historic Sites?
  • Where can I find public records and other genealogy resources for Russell County?

Where is the original John Jessee Land?

Thanks to Tom Rudder, here is a site, TopoZone.Com, where you can view USGS topographic maps including Russell Co., Virginia. Dozens of Jessee cemeteries and other landmarks are well noted. This is a fantastic topographic map resource. Have fun playing on this site. I suggest you start with this specific topographic map locating Jessee's Mill.
Traverse up and down County Road 640 and 645. Use the arrow keys on these maps to navigate along Routes 645 and 640 and other branches, and discover all kinds of Jessee and related family sites. The Mill and several Jessee cemeteries and sites are well indicated on these topographic maps.

Tom has also delineated the original John Jessee Land and subsequent acquistions by sons Archer and George Lea Jessee as well as summarized all John Jessee land records in Caswell Co., NC and Russell Co., VA, below.

JOHN JESSEE LAND RECORDS
Compiled by Tom Rudder 2003

Caswell Co. N.C.

1777 On tax list for Richmond District

1779 John Jessee received land grant for 450 acres from the state of North Carolina. For 50 shillings per 100 acres. Deed Book A, page 496

1783 John Jessee sold 450 acres to John Hodge. Deed Book B, page 31.

1783 George Lea received power of Atty. from Isaac Brown to sign deed for 550 acres to John Jessee as soon as Isaac Brown can get deed from the state of N.C.

1784 John Jessee on tax list of St. Lawerence District. 631 acres.

1785 The purchase of 526 acres bought by John Jessee from Isaac Brown in 1783 was recorded. Deed BookC, page 106

1787 John Jessee sold 277 acres to Barnett Lea. Deed Book E, page 200.

1787 John Jessee sold 75 acres to Wm. Warren. Deed Book E, page 208.

1787 John Jessee sold 276 acres to Wm. Warren. Deed Book E, page 209.

Russell Co. VA.

1788 John Jessee on Wm. Webb Land Tax List. 200 acres Upper District 1788 John Jessee on Wm. Webb Persenal Tax List. Upper District

1789 John Jessee on Wm. Webb Personal Tax List. Upper District.

1790 John Jessee on John Weirs Land Tax List. (Assignee of Price, 200 a.)

1791 John Jessee bought 200 acres on Cedar Creek from Thomas Price. Deed Book 1, page 133.

1794 John Jessee bought 50 acres on Carrs Creek from William Gilmore. Deed Book 1, page 302.

1794 John Jessee bought 200 acres on Carrs Creek from William Gilmore. Deed Book 1, page 304.

1796 John and Frances Jessee sold 100 acres on Cedar Greek to George Fullar. Deed Book 2, page 164.

1798 John and Frances Jessee sold 100 acres on Cedar Creek to Wilson Vermillion. Deed Book 2, page 483.

1821 Prior to his death John Jessee was in the process of selling 50 acres to his son William. However the 50 acres were sold to Archer Jessee with the concurrence of the Jessee heirs. Deed Book 6, page 409.

1828 Archer Jessee bought 118 acres from the heirs of the John Jessee Sr. estate. Deed Book 8, page 87.

1828 George L. Jessee bought 82 acres from the heirs of the John Jessee estate. Deed Book 8, page 90.

How Do I get to Jessee's Mill and other Jessee Historic Sites?

From the Russell Co. Library (a must stop for its Family History Room in which there is much Jessee Family Information) in Lebanon take Business Highway US 19 West towards Abingdon, VA, and then go North on State Hwy 71 towards Dickensonville/Castlewood.

Turn right (North) on Route 645 and stay on the paved Rt. 645 through about three intersections of other numbered roads, and a twist or turn or two that can get you lost. I think for a stretch it is also Rt. 640. Don't be afraid to stop and ask someone in the area. Its a 50/50 Chance they are a Jessee or descendant! You will be going through Jessee family ancestral lands for much of the way.

You will come to the Mill Creek Baptist Church and just beyond it, less than a quarter mile along Mill Creek, you will see Jessee's Mill down on the left, and the beautiful red brick Andrew Jackson Jessee historic home on the right. He was the last Mill owner and operator. You can actually park at the Church at the intersection of Rt. 640 and 645, and across the road (Rt. 640} going toward the Creek, there is a little "shack," which is the Jessee's School House, albeit in sad condition. There is a gravel/dirt road that runs from the School House down along Mill Creek. Walk down that road, and Mill Creek and the Dam is on your right along the way, and the Mill is straight ahead at the gate. It is a short walk. The Mill Wheel is on the opposite side so you would need to go in through the gate and walk around the Mill to see it. From the paved road, Rt. 645 you can also see the Mill real well from the "picturesque" side right from the road.

From the Mill Creek Church, just a little further along Rt. 645 you will come to the site of the original John and Frankey Lea Jessee Home, later the George Lea Jessee home. It is set back down a lane with a locked gate in a little holler. Up on the top of the first rise or small hill just on the left side of the lane is going towards the home is the site of the Jessee Cemetery. There is a tree on the top of that hill, and the cemetery is under it. The field there is plowed and farmed from time to time, and the cemetery is almost not discernable. The weeds are just about all you see. No stone is standing, all are down and some if not many are buried, and many broken or missing now.

Where can I find public records and other genealogy resources for Russell County?

The Russell Co. Virginia Public Library provides this marvelous summary of Russell Co. resources for Local History & Genealogy Research.
Go to: http://russell.lib.va.us/localhistory.htm

The Local History Room at the Lebanon Library has an extensive collection containing local history and authors as well as extensive genealogical material. Most of the collection cannot be found through the online catalog.
The information below may assist you in conducting genealogical research; you should also consult the library's list of genealogy websites. In addition to the material described below, the library's collection holds family histories, as well as church, military and county histories. General local history topics are housed in a vertical file.
For further information, refer to the Russell County Genealogy Group, sponsored by the Russell County Historical Society and the Russell County Public Library.

RESEARCHING FAMILY HISTORY IN RUSSELL COUNTY
Birth Records
A microfilm copy of the Russell County Birth Registers from 1853-1889 is held by Russell County Public Library. Some records are available from the years 1900 to 1927 at the Russell County Courthouse. Virginia law required registration of births but it was 1920 before records were even 90% complete; a copy of birth certificates held by the state can be obtained by writing the Virginia Dept. of Vital Records in Richmond.
Census Records
The public library has available federal census records for Russell County 1820-1930, excepting 1890. Some records are available in print while others may be available on CD or microfilm. Census records from 1790, 1800, 1810, & 1890 were lost or destroyed; some of these have been reconstructed through tax lists and other records.
Marriage Records
Copies of marriage licenses 1849-1899 are available at the public library. Indexes by bride and groom are also available. Additional years are being copied and will be made available as they are indexed. After May 2000, records are electronic; no paper licenses are held at the Courthouse for the ensuing years.
Death Records
Death records are kept by the Russell County Health Dept. Records from 1961 to the present are available. Records from earlier years have been sent to Richmond. Copies may be obtained by contacting the Virginia Dept. of Vital Records in Richmond. (Russell County Health Dept. will release death records only to immediate family.)
Deeds
Property deeds are available from 1787 in the Courthouse.
Military Records
Military discharge records are available from World War I and forward in the Courthouse. These records are not complete as it was left up to the individual to file the discharge in his or her county of residence.
Other Court Records available in the Courthouse
Chancery Records from 1948 to present are in the Courthouse. Earlier records are held at the Library of Virginia in preparation for microfilming. Other records include Common law order books, Criminal law order books, Civil common law, and General District Court (misdemeanor records are kept only 10 years as required by law.)