Sunday, January 25, 2015

52 Ancestors Week # 3 - Meet Henry Kitts

Meet Henry Kitts, my children's 3rd great paternal grandfather. He was born in August 1824 in Grainger County, Tennessee, his death certificate gave his age in years and months so I used a birth from death calculator such as this one at Ancestor Search ( to try and determine when he might have been born in August. He was probably born on or around August 14th.

Henry's First Marriage:

Henry married first to Frances Lucinda Strange on December 26th, 1844 in Rutledge, Grainger County, Tennessee. Frances is the daughter of Smith and Elizabeth "Betsy" (Dalton) Strange. She was born January 29th, 1829 in Grainger County, Tennessee. Frances Strange Kitts died on October 19th, 1882. Henry and Frances had three daughters and five sons. All of their children were born, married and died in Grainger County, Tennessee unless otherwise noted.

The Children of Henry and Frances: 

The eldest son of Henry and Frances is Simeon Acuff Kitts who was born September 27th, 1845. He married Elizabeth "Betty" Harrell on 31 January 1867. Elizabeth is the daughter of James Calvin Harrell and Rachel Bundren of Grainger County. Simeon and Betty did not have any children that I have been able to find. Elizabeth "Betty" Harrell Kitts died on April 14th, 1920. Simeon died on May 7th, 1926 in Knoxville, Tennessee and they are both buried in the Kitts Cemetery in Washburn, Tennessee.

The eldest daughter of Henry and Frances is Delilah Calvin Kitts who was born June 9th, 1850. She married Isaac Kitts in October of 1865. Isaac is the son of David Kitts and Annis Innece Willis also of Grainger County. They had the following children: Millard Smith Kitts (1867-1940), Alexander Kitts (1869-before 1880), E. Kitts (1871-????), Maggie A. Kitts (1875-1955), Charlotte "Lockie" Kitts (1877-1916), Frances M. Kitts (1879-????), Sally J (1882-????), Ora B. Kitts (1884-1912), Henry C. Kitts (1887-1913), Laura Bell Kitts (1891-????) and David Lee (1893-1950). Delilah died on October 26th 1909 and Isaac died May 4th, 1918 both are buried in the Kitts Cemetery in Washburn, Tennessee. 

The third son of Henry and Frances is Orvel Lee Kitts. Orvel is the 2nd great grandfather of children. He was born July 2nd, 1853. He married Susan Mary Williams on October 14th, 1877. She is the daughter of David Beeler Williams and Matilda Clark also of Grainger County. Orvel and Susan had twelve children. I will be discussing Orvel and his family in great detail in a future post.

Laura Emaline Kitts is the second daughter of Henry and Frances. Laura was born on April She married first Rector Devine Arnwine on September 23rd, 1880. Rector is the son of William Chesley Arnwine and Elizabeth Lewis. He was born in 1851 in Claiborne County, Tennessee. Laura and Rector had four children. Frederick Fernando (1881-1899), Elsie Estelle (1883-1900), Ruby Cecil (1885-1906) and Lula Ethel (1888-1906). 

Laura out lived both Rector and their children. Ruby and Lula died three weeks apart in February of 1906. All of Laura and Rector's children were born and died in Knox County, Tennessee. All four children died of tuberculosis and are buried in the old Mayes Chapel Cemetery. In the photo to the left are the children of Laura and Rector, standing (L-R) are Estelle and Ruby and sitting in front (L-R) are Frederick and Lula.

On November 23rd, 1893 Laura married John Brewer Jackson Brickey in Knox County,
Tennessee. John was born on April 16th, 1845 in Blount County,Tennessee. He is the son of John Brewer Brickey and Nancy Ann King. Both Laura and John were widowed and between them had 14 children. They also had four children of their own. Their children are Frances Harriet (1895-1982), Leonard Herman (1896-1952), Maurice Lillard (1899-1980) and Audrey Susan May (1901-1982).

John B. J. Brickey died on 24 January 1905 in Knox County. Laura died on October 31st, 1952 in Knox County, just ten months after son Leonard. Frances and Audrey died seven weeks apart in 1982. In the photo to the right are the children of Laura and John, standing is Leonard and from L-R are Lillard, Frances and Audrey. Both this photo and the photo of Laura and Rector's children are courtesy of Doug Akins.

The youngest daughter of Henry and Frances is Harriet Angeline "Hattie" Kitts. She was born on May 22nd, 1868. She married first Rufus M Gentry on June 24th, 1886 in Union County, Tennessee. Rufus was the son Isaac Gentry, Jr and Mary E. Miller. Rufus was born about 1870 in Tennessee and died before 1896 in Tennessee. The records of his birth and death have been very hard to find. "Hattie" and Rufus had the following children: Simeon C. Gentry (1887-1891), Jesse Gaines Gentry (1889-1940) and Trula Kathleen (1893-1894). 

On January 1st, 1896 in Knox County, Tennessee to D. Oscar Mynatt. "Hattie" and Oscar had four children and they are Bonnie Lee (1896-1966), Frederick Jewell "Red" (1899-1994), Ross H. (1904-1978) and Ralph (1904-1907). Oscar died on December 18th, 1928 and "Hattie" died on November 16th, 1961, both died in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I am still researching the following children of Henry and Frances: Asa Joel Kitts (1847-????), Corum Clay (1865-1886), and James Alexander (1871-????). My theory for Asa Joel and James Alexander is that they died in childhood and that finding death records will be next to impossible because the state of Tennessee only has them for 1909-1912 and 1914-1955 which are available on or on I believe Corum Clay married between the 1880 Census and his death in 1886. I have 2 possible candidates and unfortunately they have similar names. The marriage bonds list the groom as "C.C." Kitts. One of the problems I have had in researching the Kitts family is the same naming practice that went on for several generations.

Henry's Civil War Service:

According to there were 107 men with the surname of Kitts in the Civil War, 60 served in the Union armies and 47 served in the Confederate States Army. Henry served in the 1st Tennessee Regiment Infantry, Company D as a Private in the Union Army during the Civil War. 

The photo to the left is from his company  descriptive book. According to the description, Henry was 35 years old, his height was recorded as 5 feet and 8 inches with a fair complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. It confirms that he was born in Grainger County, Tennessee and lists his occupation as a farmer.

Henry enlisted on July 26th, 1862 in Coumbd Gap, Kentucky.  I believe this abbreviation is actually for Cumberland Gap, Kentucky. He was enlisted by Captain James W. Branson, also of the 1st Tennessee Regiment, Company D. The term he agreed to was for three years.

What I found interesting about this particular page in Henry's record was the remarks section. It reads, "Deserted Oct 20 1864, while of furlough. Returned Dec 30, 1864 and restored to by order from HeadQrs. 4, Div 23 A.C., without loss of pay or time having bee improperly reported a Deserter. Discharged at Knoxville, June 21, 1865. (over) in accordance with instructions received from War Dept., A. G. O."

The last page in Henry Kitts records at was a letter (image to the right) addressed to Captain W.P. Ammen. The letter is from Captain T. J. Rogers. In the letter he explains that Henry Kitts was improperly reported as a deserter in the monthly return for the month of November 1864. Captain Rogers explains that Henry was in fact detached for recruiting service without his knowledge. 

In April of 1913, Henry Civil War service would again come into question. I believe this may have been in regards to his pension application. It lists a claim number 582218. This same number appears as a certificate number on his Civil War Pension Index card. I see a trip to NARA in Washington in my future.

Henry's Second Marriage:

On  April 8th, 1883 Henry married Harriet Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bates in Union County, Tennessee. "Lizzie" is the daughter of Ambrose Bates and Susan Mynatt. She was born February 25th, 1851 in Knox County. Henry and "Lizzie" had four children and they are: Rector Tipton (1885-1956), Leland Ambrose (1886-1968), Susan Melissa (1888-1940) and Dr. Henry Lofton (1891-1954).
The photo above is courtesy of Martha Sue Nicely. Standing left to right are Susan, Leland and Henry and sitting left to right are Henry, "Lizzie" and Rector. This photo was taken about 1900 in front of the Kitts home. Harriet Elizabeth Bates Kitts died on April 13th, 1935 and Henry died on April 14th, 1916 both in Corryton, Tennessee.

Henry's Death Certificate and who is his mother?: 

According to his death certificate, Henry is the son of Peter Kitts, Jr and Amy Dyer Beard Adkins. Amy and Peter were married on May 11th, 1812 in Grainger County, Tennessee. I have seen multiple online trees that state Amy died before March of 1821. Henry's father, Peter Kitts, Jr married his second wife, Elizabeth Nicely in March of 1821. This date comes from Peter's War of 1812 pension papers.

From the forty plus documents I saved and read there is no marriage record or affidavit from anyone who attended the wedding or could confirm that it actually took place. I have other pension papers in my possession for various other relatives and there is some type of document that corroborates this marriage to Elizabeth. I have tried to find a marriage bond or license for Peter and Elizabeth in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky but but to no avail. 

I don't know if Elizabeth died prior to 1860 or if perhaps she left never to be heard from again. I know because she is not listed in the 1860 or the 1870 US Census records for Peter. I am missing the 1850 and 1880 US Census records for Peter, again the same name practice is getting the best of me!

My first goal with Henry is to prove whether Amy Anna Dyer Adkins is or is not Henry's mother as his death certificate indicates. Performing a yDNA test would confirm the link to Henry and  Peter but mtDNA tests will not help as it appears that Peter and Elizabeth did not have any female children that I have been able to find.

My second goal with Henry is to exhaust every possibility and to determine what happened to his sons, Asa Joel, Corum Clay and James Alexander. In an effort to do that I am reaching out to another researcher of the Kitts family whom I have heard a lot about but have not met. Hopefully he can shed some light on the lives of these three sons.

Dodd, Jordan R. Tennessee, Marriages, 1851-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. [Marriage of Henry Kitts and Harriet Elizabeth Bates Clark]
Kitts, Frances M Strange  Find A Grave. Find A Grave, 2012. accessed 25 January 2013. Memorial # 5257826
Kitts, Henry, Pvt., Company D,  1st Tennessee Infantry Regiment, pages 1-31, 31 December 2014 Complied Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Tennessee. Carded Records Showing Military Service of Soldiers Who Fought in Volunteer Organizations During the Civil War, compiled 1890-1912, documenting the period 1861-1864, Publication Number: M395, National Archives Catalog ID: 300398 RG 94
Kitts Family History,
“Private Member Trees,” database, ( 20 January 2015), “David Kenny Kitts” family tree by DawnKogutkiewicz, profile for Henry Kitts  (1824 Grainger Co, TN-1916 Corryton, TN) documented data updated November 2014.
“Private Member Trees,” database, ( 20 January 2015), “David Kenny Kitts” family tree by DawnKogutkiewicz, profile for Frances M Strange  (1824 Grainger Co, TN-1882 TN) documented data updated November 2014.
“Private Member Trees,” database, ( 20 January 2015), “David Kenny Kitts” family tree by DawnKogutkiewicz, profile for Peter Kitts, Jr (1790 Wythe Co, VA-1881 Grainger Co, TN) documented data updated November 2014. 
"Tennessee, Death Records, 1914-1955." index and images. FamilySearch ( accessed 9 February 2012). entry for Henry Kitts, died 14 April 1916; citing Death Records, FHL microfilm 1,876,623; Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee. “Tennessee, Death Records, 1914-1955,” 
"Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 July 2012), Henry Kitts and Frances Strange, 26 Dec 1844; citing Grainger, Tennessee, United States, county courthouses, Tennessee; FHL microfilm 1,465,168. [Bond]"Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 24 July 2012), Henry Kitts and Frances Strange, 26 Dec 1844; citing Grainger, Tennessee, United States, county courthouses, Tennessee; FHL microfilm 1,465,168. [License]

Note: I have multiple sources and can furnish them upon request.




  1. Hi,
    Henry Kitts is my great-grandfather and thanks for posting all this history. I am working my way through some old family photos, many of which are unidentified. One unidentified photo might? be of Henry Kitts with his first wife and family. It's just a guess and the photo was NOT taken at the same location as the one of Henry and Lizzy Kitts that you posted above.

    Anyway, here is a link to the unidentified photo.
    If you recognize anyone, kindly let me know at

  2. I am sorry for the delay in checking your comments! The web address you provided above does not work. Could you please contact me via email. My email is Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.