Our CHAFFIN Family, researched by Ira Chaffin of Salem, VA
The surname Chaffin is of Anglo-Saxon origin. It is derived from
the Old French words "chauf" and "cauf", which
both mean bald. This was ultimately derived from the Latin word
"calvus", which has the same meaning. Thomas Chaffin emigrated
from England to the Virginia colony in 1664. (Source: Passenger
and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s, Ancestry.com)
On 18 October 1664 Accomack County in Virginia granted Capt. John
Savage 4200 acres of land for bringing 84 persons, including Thomas
Chaffin, to Accomack County from England.
Christopher Chaffin was born about 1690 and lived in Christ Church
Parish, Middlesex County, VA, which was west of Accomack County.
He married Sarah about 1710. They had five children: John, Christopher,
Mary, William, and another John, all christened in Christ Church
Parish. Christopher Chaffin Senior was killed by two runaway slaves
In a petition (House of Burgesses 1727-1734) John Grimes stated
that 2 of his Negroes ran away to Maryland, and Grimes hired Jacob
Rice and Christopher Chaffin to bring them home; "that they
murdered those two persons and returned again to Maryland where
they were again committed; that the widows and children of these
unfortunate men are left in a very difficult condition and the petitioner
has been at great expense in bringing the said Negroes to justice"
and requested aid. The petition was referred to the committee of
Chaffin lines of southern Virginia in the 1700’s appear to
be those whom John Chaffin/Chafin, died 1773 in Cumberland County,
VA, was the progenitor. There is controversy about whether he was
the son or brother of Christopher Chaffin, but the dates indicate
that he was a son. He was living in Goochland County, VA before
part of it became Cumberland County in 1749.
John held 1300 acres of land in Goochland and Cumberland County,
VA under original grants from King George II of England through
his representative William Gooch, Esquire. John Chaffin/Chafin died
1773 in Cumberland County, VA. In his will his wife Mary was not
mentioned, so she may have died before 1773. He does mention his
children Joseph Chaffin, Rachel Chaffin Smith, Joshua Chaffin, Ruth
Chaffin Bradley, and Christopher Chaffin. He does not mention his
daughter Nancy Caroline Chaffin Huckaby who died about 1767 before
the will was written. However, John Chaffin did deed to grandson
Thomas Huckaby, Jr. “for love and affection” 130 acres
where Thomas Huckaby, Sr. lived in Cumberland County.
Joseph Chaffin, son of John and Mary Chaffin/Chafin, was born 1741
in Cumberland County, VA. He inherited the 200 acres of land and
the plantation where his parents lived in Cumberland County, VA.
Joseph married Nancy (Ann) Mitchell, daughter of James Mitchell,
before 1775 and had seven children. Joseph Chaffin and his family
moved to Bedford County, VA by 1787. Joseph died in 1815 and left
a will naming wife Ann and children Stephen, Joshua, John and Joseph,
Rebecca Adams, Rhoda Hudnall, and Polly Hurt.
It is interesting to note that his son Joseph Chaffin, Jr. and
wife Jane Adams had a son Josephus Chaffin, born 1825-1826 in Bedford
County, who was a midget. In the 1860 census he was listed as Josephus
H. Chaffin, age 34, male, 27 inches height, 28 lbs. weight, born
VA, cannot read and write.
John Chaffin, son of Joseph Chaffin and Nancy (Ann) Mitchell Chaffin,
was born 1782, probably in Cumberland County, VA, and died about
1855 in Bedford County, VA. He married Catherine Dowdy, daughter
of John Dowdy Junior and Mary Foster, 09 September 1811 in Bedford
County. John owned land he had inherited from his father. They had
seven children, all born in Bedford County, VA: Joseph A., Joshua,
Mary Polly, an unidentified male child, Catherine, John H., and
Stephen. John Chaffin died about 1855 in Bedford County, and his
wife Catherine died about 1865.
Joshua Chaffin, son of John Chaffin/Chafin and Catherine Dowdy
Chaffin/Chafin, was born 1814 in Bedford County, VA. Joshua was
a Quaker Baptist and a farmer. He married Lurena Margaret Turner
10 February 1842 in Bedford County. They had five children: Mary
E., William H., Judith Ann, Thomas Jefferson and Martha Catherine
Chaffin. Joshua Chaffin died 18 November 1891 and is buried in the
Quaker Baptist Church Cemetery in Bedford County.
William H. “Bill” Chaffin, son of Joshua Chaffin and
Lurena Margaret Turner Chaffin, was born 05 May 1845 in Chestnut
Fork, Bedford County, VA. He was also a Quaker Baptist and a farmer.
Bill was a Private in the Confederate Army, Company G, 28th VA Militia
Infantry CSA. He enlisted 20 October 1863 when he was 18 years old.
By 03 July 1864 he had deserted, and then returned 27 August 1864,
being AWOL for about 6 weeks. Bill worked on fortifications for
2 months, wearing a 12 pound ball and chain 3 feet long. He re-enlisted
in February 1864. William H. Chaffin married Emmaline L. Overstreet,
daughter of Alexander S. Overstreet and Tabitha Frances Dowdy, 20
December 1865 in Bedford County. They had six children, all born
in Bedford County: John William, Samuel Colea, James A., Lottie
Roberta, Susan Clarke and Helen M. Chaffin. William H. Chaffin died
09 June 1890 and is buried off Route 727 on L.J. Bays' property
in Bedford County. Emmaline died 12 October 1923 and is buried in
the North Bedford Baptist Church Cemetery, Forest, VA.
John William Chaffin, son of William H. Chaffin and Emmaline L.
Overstreet Chaffin, was born 08 October 1866 in Bedford County,
VA. Johnny was a farmer. He played a musical instrument, the fiddle,
and performed with bands at square dances. He married Bettie Banks
Burnette, daughter of Marsel Valentine Burnett and Missouri Ellen
Martin, 19 November 1890 in Bedford County. They had six children,
all born in Bedford County: Gordon C., Okie Corbett, Hallie, Frederick
Nelson, Ruby and Hilda Chaffin.
The family was listed in the 1900 census of Campbell County, VA
and the 1910 census of Bedford County. John William Chaffin died
20 May 1918 in Danville, VA. Bettie B. Chaffin died 04 August 1954
in Martinsville, VA. They are buried in Green Hill Cemetery in Danville,
VA. Their tombstone is engraved with these words: “Great Loves