John Cabell (1735-1815) was born in Goochland at the Licking hole Creek residence prior to his family’s migration up the James River to Swan Creek.

View of John Cabell’s Green Hill Estate across the James River from the Forkfield site ca. 1978.

He married Paulina Jordan when he was twenty-seven years old and settled in Buckingham County on the Green Hill estate directly across the river from the Forkfield estate.

Little is known of John since his family papers and those of Buckingham County have been lost or destroyed. He served as sheriff and county lieutenant of Buckingham County and represented his County in the General Assembly of Virginia during the 1780’s.

Paulina Jordan Cabell died in 1781 leaving 7 children ages 1-21 years of age. John Cabell then married Elizabeth Brereton in 1787 and adopted her 6 year old son, Robert Jones. She died in 1802. John Cabell’s last partner was Frances Johnson (1788-1823) who he likely never married but had 3 children by her in his 70’s. John Cabell died in 1815 at the age of 80.

John Cabell and Paulina Jordan’s children, spouses, and homeplace

  • John Cabell (1763-1771)
  • George Cabell born and died in 1765
  • Dr. George Cabell (1766-1823) and Sarah Winston (1770-1826) lived in Lynchburg
  • Frederick Cabell (1768-1841) and Alice Winston (1770-1814) lived at Struman, Buckingham, Virginia
  • William Cabell born and died in 1771
  • Dr. John Jordan Cabell (1772-1834) and Henrianne Davies (1780-1843) lived in Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Elizabeth Cabell (1774-1798)
  • Samuel Jordan Cabell (1777-1854) and Susanna Ewing (1774-1831) lived first in Monroe, West Virginia then moved to Casey County, Kentucky
  • Judith Scott Cabell (1779-1801)
  • Paulina Jordan Cabell (1780-1840) and Hector Cabell (died 1807) and William Daniel, Sr. lived in Lynchburg, Virginia

John Cabell and Elizabeth Brereton’s children, spouses, and homeplace

  • Robert Jones Cabell (1776-1823)- adopted son of John Cabell

John Cabell and Frances Johnson’s children, spouses, and homeplace

  • Napoleon Bonaparte Cabell (1812-1888) and Catherine Wells (died 1858) and Lavinia Wood lived in Kanawha County, West Virginia.
  • Alexander Cabell (1813-1875) and Athaliah Miller (1826-1910) lived in Logan County, West Virginia.
  • Elizabeth Burks Cabell (1814-1889) and Alfred Terrill Dillard (1798-1853) lived in Roanoke County, Virginia.

Migration of the Descendants of John Cabell

John had 14 children with 3 wives; his descendants are noted for an early departure from the central Virginia homesites, and establishment of Cabell communities in Lynchburg, West Virginia, and southern Kentucky. After two generations, most of his descendants had moved out of the area.

The children of John Cabell that remained in Virginia:

  • Frederick Cabell (1768-1841) remained in the James River community. He lived with his wife, Alice Winston, at Struman where they had 7 children that lived to adulthood. Only one of his children, Mary Mildred Cabell, would continue to live in the area as an adult. She married her second cousin, John Horsley, and they established their home at Mountain Retreat.
  • The brothers and doctors, John Jordan Cabell and George D. Cabell, moved to Lynchburg.
  • Paulina Jordan Cabell settled with her second husband, William Daniel, Sr., in Charlotte Court House, Virginia.

The children of John Cabell that moved west:

  • Samuel Jordan Cabell and wife, Susanna Ewing, moved to Monroe County, West Virginia from 1797 to about 1807 where they had 6 children. They then moved to Casey County, Kentucky where they had another 4 children. Casey County is south of Lexington, Kentucky and it does not appear that these descendants intermingled with their cousin descendants of Joseph Cabell in the Louisville, Kentucky area.
  • John’s adopted son, Robert Jones Cabell (son of Elizabeth Brereton Jones), moved to Clarke, Georgia. His son, Samuel J. Cabell, would settle in Kanawha County, West Virginia with Mary Barnes.
  • John’s youngest two sons of Frances Johnson, Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander Cabell moved to West Virginia and settled in Kanawha County, near Charleston. Most of their children remained in the Charleston area as well.
  • John’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth Burks Cabell, settled in Roanoke, Virginia.

Explore the migration of John’s descendants in the map below. Click on the map to open in a new window. The birth of John’s children at Green Hill can be seen on the map with all of the children popping up in the current James River State Park, the former location of Green Hill. John’s great-great grandchildren can be found in the silver mines of Oregon and in California and Texas.

Exploring the map

The following map shows the migration of 5 generations of descendants of John Cabell. This includes 737 descendants born before 1900.

Click on the Map name (John-Descendants) to open the map in a new window (you can also download a copy to save). Click on the large icon on the map near Virginia Beach for more details.

Notable Descendants of John Cabell

18th century

  • Dr. George Cabell (1766-1823) – Surgeon in Lynchburg, Virginia, friend of Patrick Henry.

19th century

  • Burger Brosius Dillard (1871-1909) – Civic leader and whiskey dealer in Roanoke Virginia.
  • Frederick Ernest Cabell (1844-1914) and John Breckinridge Cabell (1850-1901). Silver miners and founders of Cabell City, Oregon.
  • Samuel Jones Cabell or Samuel I. Cabell (1802-1865) – Wealthy plantation owner in Kanawha County, West Virginia who married one of his slaves, Mary Barnes (1815-1900). He sent his children to Ohio to receive and education and ensured Mary and his children as recipients of his estate in his will. Part of his plantation was sold by his daughter to establish the beginnings of West Virginia State University.
  • Wirt Robinson (1864-1929) – Author and Professor of Chemistry, Minerology and Geology, West Point from 1911-1928.

Works Consulted

  • Brown, Alexander. The Cabells and their Kin: A Memorial Volume of History, Biography, and Genealogy. Richmond, Va.: Garrett and Massie, Inc., 1939. First published 1895.
  • Cabell, Randolph W. 20th Century Cabells and their Kin. Franklin, N.C.: Genealogy Pub. Service, 1993
  • Cabell Family Papers, 1727-1875, Accession # 5084, Albert H. and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Croye, Marcia Bell Christy. The Cabells and related families of West Virginia. Marcia B. Croye, 1998.