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Jetton family papers

Identifier: MS0366

Scope and Contents

The Jetton Family Papers is a large and significant collection of documentation of the Jetton family (one of the earliest families of European origin to settle in the Mecklenburg County area) and their in-laws from the mid-eighteenth century to the early twenty-first century. The contents of this collection reveal the life activities of this family over the centuries. Many of the papers in this collection are letters to and from various family members, receipts for consumer goods (which provide a wealth of information concerning standards of living), promissory notes for borrowing money, tax receipts, papers relevant to slavery, the American Civil War and Reconstruction, documentation pertinent to land ownership (land surveys, deeds, land grants and indentures), genealogical notes, papers involved in the settlement of estates, papers referring to the land that would later become Jetton Park, family photographs and more. The chronological and geographical range of this collection concerns Mecklenburg County from the mid-eighteenth century to the early twenty-first century.


  • Creation: 1726 - 2005
  • Creation: 1754 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

The name Jetton is French in origin, and existing genealogical information tells us it literally means a disc or token, similar to a ballot. The name is likely derived from the word jetez, which means to throw, toss, or jettison; as one may jettison or toss a ballot into a ballot box. Even to this day, members of the Jetton family in the United States continue to pronounce the name in the original French, with the accent on the second syllable: je-TUN.

While there is some knowledge about the Jetton who immigrated to the New World, this information is rather obscure and tentative. According to genealogical notes found in this collection, Lewis Jetton (sometimes spelled Giton) arrived in either New York or New Rochelle sometime before 1695, and though the name is French, there is some speculation he may have come from Scotland or Ireland (possible Gallaway). The notes also say that he and his family (which included his children, Lewis, Peter and Jane), seem to have migrated to New Castle County, Delaware by 1732. It also seems that Lewis (son of the immigrant) married a woman named Jane Boroom, but this is also speculative.

Lewis had at least three children, including a son named John. As the family records are still sketchy at this point, it is not known where he was born or when. All that is definitively known about him is that he died on November 27, 1789. John married Elizabeth Brevard and had five children, including a son named Lewis. Lewis was born either in 1748 or 1749 (either in Delaware or North Carolina), married Priscilla Sharpe, and had twelve children, including a son named Alexander Brevard Jetton, born on November 25, 1783 (Lewis died in North Carolina, so he may have been the one who migrated from Delaware to North Carolina). Alexander Brevard Jetton, many of whose papers are in this collection, married Elizabeth Nantz (also spelled Nance), and had six children, including a son named John Lewis Jetton, born in 1827. A larger quantity of papers in this collection come from this individual. John married Mary Ann Potts in 1872, and had six children, including Francis Potts Jetton, born in 1884. Francis married Bettie Kareen Christenbury (also spelled Christenberry), and had four children, including Lloyd Hugh Jetton, born in 1920 and who is the donor of this collection. Hugh, as he was usually called, married Florence Pangle in 1946, and had two children, including Melanie Suzanne Jetton, born in 1952. Melanie S. Jetton married David Roy Bookout in 1972, and had one child, a daughter, named Katie Melissa Bookout, born in 1979. Hugh’s son, John Alfred, married Joy Acree, and they had two sons, Joshua Abram (b. 1978) and Jeremy Aaron (b. 1982).

The papers in this collection indicate that the family bought and sold large tracts of land and were involved in cotton cultivation. Alexander Brevard Jetton was a prominent member of the community in northern Mecklenburg County (especially in the Davidson area) and, like many other locally important men of his day, administered the estates of a number of family and friends. Alexander also cared for his invalid youngest sister, Priscilla.

Alexander’s son, John Lewis Jetton, also figured prominently in the community and took on multiple roles. In addition to being a planter, he taught school for a few years, worked as a surveyor, and administered several estates. John served the Confederate war effort as a lieutenant in Company C of the 37th North Carolina regiment (also known as the “Mecklenburg Wide Awakes”), but was later discharged for medical reasons. Loyalty oaths for both him and his father are in this collection, as are a few items referring to the 37th regiment and the Reconstruction period. John later served two terms in the North Carolina legislature—1873-75 and 1891-93.

One of John’s sons, Francis Potts Jetton inherited land near the Catawba River, and built a house there in the early 1900s. He married Bettie Christenbury in 1910, and the two of them planted an oak sapling soon afterwards. This oak eventually grew large enough to shade the house and was still standing when the family sold the property late in the twentieth century.

In the late 1950s and early 60s, Duke Power Company began to plan and construct the dam that formed Lake Norman. Many privately-owned properties were eventually flooded, as well as whole towns and textile mills. In addition to Duke Power’s hydroelectric plant, the utility also began talking of the possibility of building a coal-fired power-plant in the same area. Accordingly, Duke contacted nearby residents to try to talk them into selling their property, thinking that smoke billowing from a nearby smoke stack would bring down property values. Most of the residents along Jetton Road did sell out at the time (including the Jettons), though the power plant never materialized. The 113 acres of land where Francis Potts Jetton built his house is now Jetton Park, which is owned and operated by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department.

The genealogical descent from John and Elizabeth Brevard Jetton has been extensively documented into the twenty-first century, and only a fraction of it has been presented here. Among the family characteristics are a high birth rate, a low infant mortality rate and an extraordinarily long life span among most of the family members. These characteristics have combined to produce a very large number of descendants that have survived to this day. Also, the names Lewis and John have been the most popular male names in the family, and mothers’ maiden names were often used as middle names for their children.


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Language of Materials



Papers of the Jetton and related families since the mid-eighteenth century; including mostly real estate surveys and indentures, correspondence, genealogical notes, estate records, documentation on the Civil War and Reconstruction, and receipts for consumer goods. The Jetton family has lived in northern Mecklenburg County since the mid-eighteenth century.


The collection is arranged into eight series, three of which (Real Estate, Individuals and Subject Files) are further divided into subseries. There is also a file (Pen-and-ink drawing of the Jetton residence across from what is now Jetton Park) that does not belong to any series. The eight series are: Genealogies, Real Estate, Individuals (1763-1969), Subject Files (1841-1993), Photographs, Artifacts, Oversize Materials and Assorted.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Lloyd Hugh Jetton in honor of his grandchildren, Joshua Jetton, Jeremy Jetton, and Katie Bookout Hudson; with contributions by Melanie Jetton Bookout and Peggy Jetton Ayers, 2007.

Related Materials

Patterson Family Papers.

Processing Information

Processed by Robert A. McInnes

Jetton Family Papers
Robert A. McInnes
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collections, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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