m. abt 1763
m. 28 Oct 1779
Facts and Events
After many years of careful research by members of the family, Joseph Hatfield is still the earliest proven progenitor of the Hatfield family in 18th century Virginia, whose descendants generally moved into Tennessee and Kentucky; some groups of their descendants subsequently found their way to western Indiana, and various members of the next generation moved on to Iowa and Nebraska. Joseph's father likely was one of the George Hatfields in southwestern Virginia in the 1730s and '40s, but there are still numerous issues to be resolved. The best and most original research on the earliest generations of this family is being done by Leslie Collier, and a summary of her discoveries and arguments may be found at several sites on the Web, including this page at Jerry Hatfield's website.
It also has been demonstrated convincingly and in detail (and wishful thinking notwithstanding) that this Joseph has no connection whatever with Matthias Hatfield who married into the family of Cornelius Melyn, patroon of Staten Island.
The following provides a commentary on the surviving records for James Hatfield in Southwest Virginia.
In the early part of the Revolution (before 1779), Joseph served as a private soldier and an Indian scout and spy in the Virginia militia, under Col. Chrisman for two terms of six months each. He later served on the western frontier under Capt. Thompson, again as an Indian spy.
In 1779, Joseph found himself the subject of an arrest warrant:
George the Third, by the Grace of GOD, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. To the Sheriff of Fincastle County greeting: We command you that you take Joseph Hatfield if he be found within your Bailiwick and him safely keep, so that you have his Body before the Justices of our said County Court, at the Courthouse of the said County on the first Tuesday in next month to answer Israel Christian of debt damage Twenty three pounds five shillings two pence damage forty shillings and have then there this Writ. Witness John Byrd Clerk of our said Court, at the Courthouse aforesaid, the 11th Day of June in the 14th Year of our Reign. [signed] John Byrd
On 9 Dec 1785, a petition to Virginia House of Delegates was signed by a number of inhabitants of Clinch River, Moccassin Creek, Powel's Valley and other locales in Washington County, requesting that the militia districts be redrawn "such that these citizens will more easily perform militia duty without long travel away from their defenseless families." Among the signatories are two Joseph Hatfields, two George Hatfields, John Hatfield, and Ephraim Hatfield. Euricus Smith, Ericus Smith Jr, and Eli Smith, relations of Rachel Smith, Joseph's second wife, also signed the petition.
On 8 Sep 1787, Joseph was ordered to appear in court in Russell County to show cause why he should not be fined and taxed double for failing to give William Webb, Commissioner, a list of his taxable property.S1
At the same session of court, a petition was filed by Richard Poston against Ephraim Churchwell and Joseph Hatfield for a debt of three pounds due by note.S2
On 17 Oct of the same year, the Commonwealth of Virginia brought charges against Joseph Hatfield, George Hatfield, and William Mullet (on the information of William Webb). The substance of the charge is not known, however.S3
An especially useful land transaction involving Joseph and several of his Hatfield and Smith relatives was recorded 1 Aug 1790 in Russell County.
This indenture made the first day of August One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety between Ericus Smith and rosanna [sic], his wife, Andrew Smith and Rachel, his wife, Joseph Hatfield and Rachael, his wife, his son Ephraim and Mary, his wife, of Russell County, Commonwealth of Virginia, of the one part and Ely Smith of Said county of the other part . . . in consideration of One Hundred Pounds current money to them in hand paid by the said Ely . . . sell unto the said Ely Smith a certain tract or parcel of land containing ninety-four acres being part of a tract of two hundred acres and being in the New Garden in the said Russell County.S4
Joseph appeared in the Russell County records twice in 1791:
1830 U.S. Census, Campbell County, Tennessee:S7