...give an intersting look at this early frontier life, as the leading men went about trying to civilize a new land. Roads had to be laid out, fees for the keeping of Tavern and ferry services established, permission for the damming of the creeks and rivers to establish grist mills and the apponting of officials for the ordering of society.
On 20 Nov. 1798 "Wm. Means is recommended to the Governor as a proper person to add to the Commission of the Peace."(ibid pg. 26)
We also find his sons mentioned. Samuel will play an important role in this early community. On 15 Oct. 1799 Samuel (William's son) is recognizes as a justice of the Peace for the county. William Jr. took the oath as constable, and William Sr. is recommended for the office of 'Corner'. He is also paid 15 shillings bounty for 5 young wolves.(ibid pgs. 33 - 36)
But where did this family come from? They seem to have arrived in Kentucky as grown men. As we dig deeper into the past we find fewer and fewer sources, and every family and generation seems to have had several Williams. Family traditions point to North Carolina. Even my own grandmother, Anna Wolz Means, told me that she thought the Means were from Kentucky or North Carolina. Perhaps both are true.
Consider the following biographies...
"Among its very earliest settlers was the Means family, who came from North Carolina about the year 1800, and consisted of William Means and his wife and six sons. These all grouped themselves about what is still known as the Means Spring, near Newstead, and contributed much to the early development of the infant county. Samuel Means was a surveyor, and assisted in laying off the original site of Elizabeth, afterward Hopkinsville, and was besides one of the earliest Justices of the Peace of the County. About 1806 he built a schoolhouse, the first in the precinct, in which his brother William afterward taught." ( Perrin, William Henry; Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky, Historical and biographical: F.A. Battey Publishing Co,. Chicago and Louisville 1884; p. 277. c.f. Lucien W. Means p. 384)
"William Means, a Revolutionary soldier of North Carolina. According to tradition, he was a widower when he arrived, about 1800, with six sons and one daughter. The sons were men with families, at least some of them."
( Meachan, Charles Mayfield; A History of Christian County Kentucky from Oxcart to Airplane; Marshall & Bruce co. Nashville Tenn, 1930 p. 582)
"William Means born in PA, in 1738… in 1790 he emigrated to Hardin County, Ky, after living for a time in North Carolina; in 1799 located in Christian County KY. Is said to have been a Revolutionary soldier."
(Sinnett, Rev. Charles N. ; William Means and Descendants; Carthage S. Dakota, 1926)
"He came from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina to Christian County, Kentucky before 1800. William was a Revolutionary War veteran. Descendants believe he came from Augusta County, Virginia."
(Foglesong, Elizabeth; The Means Family of America; p. 839)
So is this the William Means that is definately found in North Carolina prior to 1793? Who is head of a household in the 1790 U.S. Census. (District 18; but 4 sons and 5 daughters) We find him in a list of Public Officials of Mecklenburg County, 1775-1785. (Ray, Worth S.; The Mecklenburg Signers and Their Neighbors);1946. He assists in the war effort by selling the army oats, September and November, 1780 (State Archives, Raleigh)
This William of Mecklenburg County also served in the Militia in the Revolutionary War. There is a record of payment to him in 1784 and 1785. (Revolutionary Army Accounts of North Carolina; State Archives, Raleigh No. Carolina; vol. IX p.100 folio 2; and vol XII p. 57 folio 4.)
There are also land deeds. William Means buys land in 1774, 1778 and 1783. North Carolina grants him 337 acres in 1783. He sells parts of the same in 1788 and 1797. (County Court House, Mecklenburg Co,. Charlotte North Carolina; Book & page 12-141; 12-237; 12-255; 10-469; 13-660; 15-320)
Thus there is certainly a William Means who lived in Mecklenburg County North Carolina, who also served in the Revolutionary war.
Dennis Means writes: My father, Jennings D. Means, was a major contributor to The Means Family of America book by Elizabeth Foglesong. Daddy wanted Elizabeth to hold off to publish the book as new information was coming to light, but Elizabeth didn't want to wait. Daddy later said he was glad because our home burned, destroying all his genealogical records.
In later years, he wrote a supplement to The Means Family of America, and titled it The Early Generations. In it he writes some information about the William you are referring to.
"The sons of (RN22280 on his Web-site Meansweb.com) William Means moved to Pendleton Dist., SC and then to Wilkes Co., GA from whence they spread across Georgia and some went to Illinois. The remaining Orange Co., NC Meanses (except RN7444 Robert Means of what is now Rockingham Co., NC) seem to have moved into Mecklingburg Co., NC. It is my opinion that the Mecklingburg Co. Meanses belong to Samuel."
While it is not finally proven, yet the following are probably children of
RN22277 Samuel Means of Orange Co., NC.
a. RN23553 William Means, born about 1750, possibly in Lancaster Co.,
PA or Orange Co., NC; died 1825, Christian Co., KY; married twice, 1. Mary Ann Allison, 2. Jane. What is almost certainly this William appeared in the 1780 tax list of Mecklingburg Co., NC (REF LVIII-1), and was involved in various land transactions there (which references I had but are lost). And again, what is almost certainly this William received a military land warrant in Sumner Co., TN in 1785 (see above discussion REF LX-46). He was in Christian Co., KY by 1798.
When William died in Christian Co, he left a will. Dated the 20th of March 1825 and filed the 5th of September 1825 with the County Court of Christian Co. It is still there part of the public record along with an inventory of his perishable goods and record of sale.
He makes no mention of a wife. He leaves to his sons: Robert, William, John, James, and Joseph a slave each. To Fanny his daughter, fifty dollars. Samuel has died by 1813, so he leaves $50 to his grandsom William. John and Joseph must have been his favorites (or simply the youngest) as they each recieved a mare. Joseph also got his 'big Bible'
His inventory shows that he was a farmer, or shall we say, just a frontiersman! There are plows, a hoe, scythe and wheels, hame and chains. He has 4 cows and 2 calves (worth $41) and hogs. He has a flax wheel, oats, cotton, corn, wheat and 'Irish pattoes'. His furniture includes pewter plates, Queen's ware, feather beds, a churn, a high post bedstead ($2.50) and a common bedstead ($1.50), a trunk (1 bit), a book case (2 bits), pots, an oven and lid, and even a chamber pot. His estate got 6 bits for for his razor, and William Jr. bought his 'pair of specks' for $1.25.
Being a wealthy man by now, he had $70 cash on hand when he died. He has $150 in loans and his two mares and colt were worth $160. But his real wealth was in the five slaves. They were valued at $2575.00! It gives a little idea of the economics of the times.