Biffle Researchers

John Biffle, The Biffle Who Went to Georgia

by Janet M. Roseen e-mail adress

Reprinted from Biffle Researchers, Volume 1, Number 3, September 1992

John Biffle is assumed to be the son of Adam Biffle (1728-1804). John is first found in the 1790 census as a head of household in Burke Co., North Carolina, in the vicinity of both Adam and Jacob C. (1763-1844) Biffle. By 1800 John was living in Buncombe County.1 In February of 1802, a meeting was held at John Biffle's Mill where the Church of Christ, later called the Missionary Baptist Church of Newfound, was established.2 The eventual site selected for the church was at the forks of the road below John Biffle's Mill.3

In 1804, John Biffle was granted 100 acres of land by Buncombe County; in 1806 he was granted an additional 150 acres. This land was in territory in dispute between the states of North Carolina and Georgia. Georgia was claiming it as Walton County, while North Carolina claimed it as Buncombe County. Confusion over this area even lead to military action. In December 1804, the Buncombe County militia took arms against the Georgia supporters. There is no evidence that John Biffle was part of this action. The inhabitants of this area were included in the 1810 federal census of Georgia. Until the border between the two states was settled in 1813, this area was called the "orphan strip." Today the area is centered in Transylvania County, North Carolina.4

John Biffle is next found in the Hall County, Reids District, Georgia census of 1820.5 By 1823 he had moved to DeKalb County, Ga. On July 30, 1823, he was listed as a charter member of the Macedonia Church (constituted as a Primitive Baptist Church) located five miles S.E. of Lithonia in DeKalb County.6 While living in DeKalb, he did road work for the county. In February 1827, according to records of the Inferior Court, he was paid $92.50 for work he completed.

John Biffle drew land in Troup County, Ga. (LL16, 4th District, 3 Sec.) in the 1827 land lottery. He claimed his land in November of 1827; however, by 1830 he was living in DeKalb County.7 It is not known whether he ever moved to Troup County. He remained in DeKalb County until his death.

His exact death date, as well as birth date, is unknown. He was not in the 1850 U.S. Census or found in the 1850 Georgia Mortality Index, which would indicate he died sometime before 1850. According to Historical Collections of Georgia by George White, M.A., John Biffle is said to have lived until the age of 106. This would make his birth year as 1743, when Catherine Henckel Biffle, his (presumed) mother was 8 years old. In 1800 he listed his age in the census as between 26 and 45, putting his birth year between 1755 and 1774. In 1820 he is listed as "over 45," indicating a birth before 1775. In 1830 he is between 70 and 80 years of age (birth years 1750-1760).8 In 1840, the Census states that he is between 90 and 100 years (birth years 1740-1750). With all this discrepancy, I estimate is birth to be approximately 1755.

Notes:

  1. U.S. Federal Census, Buncombe Co., N.C., 1800, p. 162.
  2. Wilson, Phil. "Newfound Baptist Church of Buncombe County, North Carolina."
  3. Plemmons, Erskine V. "Newfound Church History."
  4. David, Robert Scott. "The Settlement of the Head of the French Broad River, or the Bizarre Story of the First Walton County, Georgia" in North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, p. 62-74.
  5. U.S. Federal Census, Hall Co., Ga., 1820, p. 140.
  6. Foust, W.H., "Macedonia Baptist Church," March 1942.
  7. U.S. Federal Census, DeKalb Co., Ga., 1830, p. 32; U.S. Federal Census 1840, DeKalb Co., 683rd Dist., p. 35.

Biffle Road Log Cabin

Included in the Historic Center of the DeKalb Historical Society is the Biffle Road Log Cabin. In 1976 the cabin was located on a knoll overlooking Barbasheba Creek, approximately 100 yards S.E. of Biffle Road. It was going to be destroyed for the construction of a park until historians discovered this unique structure. "it was not the kind of log cabin people instantly think of with rounded logs and chinking between, but a log cabin characteristic of the ones built by the early German settlers of eastern Pennsylvania." The logs are joined at the corners by v-notching in two directions, so that the corners are flush. This method interlocks the logs so that little movement can occur in either direction. The main room with a fieldstone fireplace is 15'4" by 16'9"; the smaller room is 8'8" by 16'9", and was probably used for sleeping. It is assumed that the structure was built by John Biffle at the time of his move to DeKalb County.

Additional information on the family of John Bifffle.


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