|Early Southern Trans-Appalachian Country|
One of the biggest obstacles that researchers have to over come regarding the Fann history is the spelling of the last name. I am confident based on my research that the family is of German decent. I have collected many documents, including Revolutionary War records, census records, marriage bonds, obituaries, and other documents that will support this. With that the name has been anglicized through phonetic transcription with many different spellings. I have seen the name written as Fann, Finn, Fenn, Faint, Faent, Feint, Fant, Fent and Fint, with some of those different spellings appearing on the same record. There are probably more, but people in the 1700 and 1800s spelled the name how they heard it when writing it onto some document. Many of the families the Fanns married into over several generations during the 1800s were also of German decent. By following census records the families stayed close together in the same community. Census records also show late into 1800s that the Fanns still did not read or write English. I assume this is because of the community being predominately German and the use of the language until English worked its way in as the common tongue.
Now in regards to the Fann timeline most researchers believe the migration started with John Fann who was from the Northern Neck of Virginia, now present day West Virginia. A deed from 1766 was awarded to him for land in Hampshire County , VA. The first mention of his name that appeared in Greene County is on a land deed dated October 21st, 1783. It was located on the south side of the Nolichucky River on the Flag Branch beginning. Now the deed has the name transcibed as John Fin(Fann) but I am confident it is the same person. Later land deeds within the same area for his children were registered, along with other families they married into. He next appeared on the 1783 Tax List in Greene County along with his oldest son Phillip. I have seen the name transcribed as Fann and Fant, but I have never actually seen the original list. Its reported to be available for view at the Nathanael Greene Museum in Greeneville, but I have been told it is not actually there.
|Land Deed for John Fann 1783|
Onto the facts that we can provide without doubt(for the most part). Solomon Fann Sr is believed to be the youngest son of John. He was born 1772 in Hampshire County, VA. His children and their children are well documented. I will provide stories and documentation on them throughout this site and hopefully help every Fann born in Greene County understand who their ancestors are. Solomon married Mary Polly Ricker, the daughter of Peter Ricker. He also served in the 4th Regiment of East Tennessee Militia during the War of 1812 along with Frederick Ricker. The Fanns and the Rickers cross paths over several generations through marriage and neighboring land ownings. Solomon is my Great Great Great Great Grandfather. The majority of this site will be in relation to him and his descendants since the documentation is available and it appears the majority of the Fanns that remained in Greene County and the later generations to present are his lineage.
I am also following a lead on John Fann. I believe I may have found we he arrived in the United States and the ship he came in on. I am in contact with three different organizations that hopefully will help me with his arrival and his migration to Virginia. A German genealogy society in Pennsylvania is checking the original passenger manifest to see how accurate the transcription was. Another organization is in the process of translating an passage in a Lutheran Pastor's Memoir that was published I came across. The problem of it being printed in old German in 1780 limits the number of people who can accurately translate the material. Their is a specific passage about the same person I found on the ship's passenger manifest. The third group I am working with and heading there soon is the Virginia State Archives. Hopefully I will find information I need to link all the Fanns prior to Solomon and prior to their arrival in Greene County.