I have tried to compile a list of famous persons and places for quick reference. The persons listed are not a complete list and could potentially grow over time. These may not be at the top of the famous category for you but, they are still worth mentioning. If you know of anyone connected please reach out with this important information.

I’ll begin with our surnames, Best, Bradley, Beaty, Myers, Smith, Crisp, Tipton, and Miles. You can skip these and head directly to the famous people if you’d like.

Surname Origins


Origins are of German descent

The Bess family can be traced to Wilhelm (abt. 1680-abt. 1749) and Anna nee’Michael Baest/Bescht/Bast (abt. 1682-abt. 1749). Both apparently born in the German Palatinate, they married abt. 1710, also in the Palatinate. The name “Bast” means “bark,” and in this case refers to the inner bark of certain deciduous trees and plants, including the linden and some varieties of elm. From the coarse fibers of this bark, a strong woven fabric was made, also called bast. From this fabric were woven mats, baskets, etc. There are various other variations of this name in early records, including the later variation, Best, by which the family became known in America.

 The Bast families were peasants, living in the lower Palatinate of Germany. The first of which we have any history was Wilhelm Bast, a farmer in the area. He was married to Anna Michael, a daughter of John Michael, a neighboring farmer. Reportedly these farms were on a plain lying between two of the Bavarian Alps.

 Wilhelm and his wife, Anna, are said to have had seven sons, four of whom were probably born before they left for Switzerland. All were very large men, one being 6’2” was nicknamed “Runt”.

 Our ancestor, Jerg Sebastian “Boston” Bess, was born in Germany in 1723 to Wilhelm & Anna. Jerg (George) emigrated to the New World with his parents on October 5, 1737, on a boat named, Hecla aka, Townsend.

 Christian “Christy” Best (Bess) was born in 1758, in North Carolina to George & Katrina Heyl (Hoyle) Bess. Christy settled in the Carpenters Campground area and was also one of the first to be buried in the Carpenters Methodist Church Cemetery.


Origins are of Ireland descent

This is an early middle age Anglo-Scottish family name. Recorded in an astonishing number of spellings including Bradly, Bradley, Braudly, Broadley, Bruidley, Braidley, Breadley, Bradlie, Bradeley, Pradley, and Radley, it is private and begins either from the differed towns called Bradley, or from now lost villages which had the meaning of a “broad clearing suitable for agriculture”. Gotten from the pre-seventh-century English word “brad-leah”, countless English places are recorded in the popular Domesday Book of William, the Conqueror in 1086. Given a little French curve, the spellings shown are Bradelei, Bradelea, and Bradelie, and from these, it is not difficult to perceive the number of the later variation family name structures created. Early intriguing instances of the last name recording incorporate John de Bradely of Berwick, who delivered reverence to the conservative legislature of Scotland in 1296, and James Bradley (1693 – 1762), the cosmologist regal, whose family start from Bradley Castle, close to Wolsingham, in County Durham. Among the numerous accounts of the name in the congregation registers of the city of London is that of the marriage of John Bradley and Annis Whitby at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 9, 1564, while James Braidley, initially dedicated as James Bradley in 1805, was an initiating observer at St Pancras Old Church, on September 21st, 1838. The initially recorded spelling of the family name is demonstrated to be that of William de Bradelai. This was dated 1170, in the Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the rule of King Henry 11nd, 1154 – 1189. Consistently, family names in each nation have proceeded to “grow” regularly prompting amazing variations of the first spelling.


Origins are of Ireland descent

This is a renowned ‘Border’ family name and is recorded in the spellings of Beatty, Beattie, and Beaty. As a ‘line’ name it is discovered similarly in the districts on one or the other side of the limit among Scotland and England. It has for some time been thought to have been a metronymic from the female individual name ‘Beatrice’, yet indeed gets from ‘Bate’ or ‘Batey’, diminutives or pet types of the name ‘Bartholomew’. This name was brought back from the Holy Land by the twelfth-century Crusaders and was one of a gathering of comparable Hebrew individual names (Thomas, Abraham, and Isaac for example), which were thusly given to children of the Crusaders as a recognition of their father’s deeds in the bombed endeavors to secure Jerusalem for Christianity. These names became last names by their own doing from the thirteenth century. Bartholomew starts from the Aramaic patronymic ‘bar-Talamy’ and signifies “one rich in land”. St. Bartholomew was well known in bygone eras and was the supporter holy person of leather experts, vintners, and stewards. Early chronicles incorporate John Beatty, who is recorded just like a burgess of Aberdeen in 1473, and Robert Bettie was a burgess of Melrose in 1535. Sir William Beatty, the maritime doctor, gone to Lord Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805, while Admiral Beatty was the victor of Jutland in 1915. The initially recorded spelling of the family name is demonstrated to be that of Hew Batie, which was dated 1334, in the Scottish Rolls in the Tower of London, during the rule of King David 11 of Scotland, ruled 1329 – 1371. Family names became fundamental when governments presented individual tax assessments. In England, this was known as Poll Tax. Consistently, last names in each nation have proceeded to “grow” frequently prompting astounding variations of the first spelling.


Origins are of German descent

The Myers or Mayers have been traced to the year 1535 in Germany. They then came to the United States (Pennsylvania) sometime in the late 1700s. John & Jane Dunn Myers quickly established themselves in the Cades Coves area of Tennessee.

This intriguing name is of early middle age English beginning, and is one of the patronymic types of the family name “Mayer”, found as Mayers, Myers, Meyers, and Miers, the “s” being an abbreviation of “son of Mayer”. The last name is a word related or “status” name for a mayor, gotten from the Middle English and Old French term “mair, maire”, from the Latin “maior”, more noteworthy, unrivaled. In France, and in Scotland, where the last name is generally found as “Mair”, the title meant different minor neighborhood authorities, while in England the term was typically utilized distinctly of the main official of a ward. The last name might have been offered consequently to a resident of some standing who had held this office, and furthermore maybe as an epithet to a meddlesome or affected individual. The accounts incorporate the accompanying models: Trynian Myars who wedded Ellyin Wright at the Church of St. Martin and St. Gregory, York in 1605, while on September 21st, 1610, Mathew, the child of Trenyon Myers (same individual diverse spelling) was initiated at St. Johns Church, Ousebridge, close to York. On different occasions in his day-to-day existence, Trenyon is recorded as Trinian and Trynian and as Myers, Myars, Miares and Myeres. He is more likely than not been extremely befuddled. Different accounts incorporate Alice Maiess dedicated in London in 1598, while the marriage of Thomas Myers and Anne Parkinsonne was recorded at St. Nicholas Cole Abbey, London, on June 29th, 1609. The previously recorded spelling of the family name is demonstrated to be that of Herewardus le Mire, which was dated 1212, The Berkshire Curia Rolls, during the rule of King John, known as “Lackland”, 1199 – 1216. Last names became essential when governments presented individual tax assessment. In England, this was known as Poll Tax. Consistently, family names in each nation have proceeded to “grow” frequently prompting surprising variations of the first spelling.


Origins are of European descent

Recorded in the spellings of Smith, Smithe, Smythe, and the patronymics Smiths, and Smithson, this is the most well-known last name in the English-talking world by an impressive edge. Of pre-seventh-century Anglo-Saxon starting points, it gets from the word ‘smitan’ signifying ‘to destroy’ and as such is accepted to have portrayed not a laborer in iron, but rather an officer, one who destroyed. That he likewise presumably wore shield, which he would have been needed to fix, may have lead to the auxiliary importance. The well known Anglo-Saxon Chronicles knew as the primary paper, in the ninth-century a.d. utilizes the articulation ‘War-Smith’ to portray a fearless fighter, while the later archaic Guild List of expert exchanges has metalworker, whitesmith, tinsmith, goldsmith, and silversmith among its numerous individuals, yet no exchange of ‘smith’. These depictions of the gifted laborers of the Middle Ages were careful, and it is our assessment in the wake of examining numerous early records that the first smiths were likely the watchmen of the nearby ruler of the estate. This would represent the solitary prominence of the name, as the early friendly records demonstrate that the exchanges of tailor and cook were considerably more pervasive than that of Smith in any structure. What is sure is that more than 500 ensigns have been conceded to Smith name holders, certainly a sign of the trooper foundation, as opposed to a modest ironworker. The extraordinary family Smith is ‘first’ in all significant urban areas of the English-talking world, yet inquisitively the best centralization of Smith’s are in Aberdeenshire, Scotland! Why this ought to be so is a long way from clear. Of course, the Smith name was one of the absolute first into the New American settlements, being held by the popular John Smith (1580 – 1631), voyager and essayist, who served to establish the province of Virginia. He was supposedly saved from execution by Pocahontas, the Indian boss’ little girl, who passed on in England in 1622. The initially recorded spelling of the family name, and most likely the main last name recorded anyplace on the planet, is that of Eceard Smid. This was dated 975 a.d., in the English Surname Register for County Durham, during the rule of King Edward of England, known as “The Martyr”, 975 – 979 a.d.


Origins are of England descent

This intriguing and surprising name, with variation spellings Crispe, Chrisp, Crips, Chrippes, and Scripps, gets from the Olde English pre-seventh Century word “crisp, cryps”, from the Latin “crispus”, which means curly or the curly-haired one, or from the Old French “crespe”, curled. Crisp may likewise be a short type of Crispin, a short type of “Crispinus”, the name of the supporter holy saint of shoemakers who was martyred at Soissons, around 285, from the Latin “crispus” as above. The last name first shows up in the early eleventh century, and other early accounts include Henry le Cresp, around 1200, recorded in Early London Personal Names; Walter Crips, 1273, recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire; and one Richard Crysp referenced in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275. John Marten Cripps (passed on 1853), a fascinating name, was taught at Cambridge, he went over Europe and the close to East and Naturalized Kohl-rabi, a Russien vegetable. The originally recorded spelling of the family name is demonstrated to be that of Benedictus Crispus, which was dated around 1030, in “Old English Bynames”, during the rule of Canute the Dane, Ruler of England, 1016 – 1035. Family names became vital when governments presented individual tax assessments. In England, this was known as Poll Tax. Consistently, last names in each nation have proceeded to “grow” frequently prompting surprising variations of the first spelling.


Origins are of England descent

This intriguing family name of Anglo-Saxon beginning is a locational name from a spot called Tipton in the West Midlands, getting from the genitive instance of an unrecorded Old English pre seventh Century individual name Tibba + ‘tun’ meaning ‘farm, homestead, settlement’, consequently, ‘Tibba’s tun’. The placename is recorded as Tibintone in the Domesday Book of 1086. The last name traces all the way back to the mid-sixteenth century. Church records incorporate Vincent Tipton, who wedded Jane Haves on January 31st, 1560 at St. Lawrence Pountney, London, and Johannes, child of Richi Tipton, who was christened on February 6th, 1566 at Pontesbury, Shropshire. One Agnes Tipton wedded Thomas Butler on May 3rd, 1584 at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney. During the Middle Ages, when it was progressively entirely expected for individuals to relocate from their origination to look for work further abroad, they especially fostered that they would receive the placename as a method for identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is demonstrated to be that of Thomas Tipton, who was christened, which was dated 1549, Pontesbury, Shropshire, during the rule of King Edward V1, ‘The Boy King’, 1547 – 1553. Family names became fundamental when governments presented individual tax assessments. In England, this was known as Poll Tax. Consistently, family names in each nation have proceeded to “grow” frequently prompting surprising variations of the first spelling.


Origins are of England descent

This fascinating name is English yet of Norman-French starting points. First brought into England at the well-known Conquest of 1066, it is thought to get from the Germanic individual name “Mild”, itself perhaps from the Slavic word “mil”, which means mercy. In English reports of the Middle Ages, the name ordinarily shows up in the Latin structure “Milo”, yet the standard expressed structure would have been “Mile”, so we expect to be that the last “s” addresses the possessive or patronymic completion signifying “son of Mile”. Early instances of the family name recording remember those of Ralph Miles for 1292. Given similar to a fishmonger of Bridge Ward, it is said that he established a foundation for the sake of the late Lord Milo, and hence received his lord’s name, while William Augustus Miles (1753 – 1817) was a remarkable political author. He compared with William Pitt the Younger, and it is said proposed fabricating a Suez Canal in 1791. In any case, all things considered, he got the thought from the French who had contemplated it a whole lot sooner. He kicked the bucket in Paris in 1817, where he was gathering materials for a background marked by the French Revolution. William Miles who passed on in 1860, rose to the position of Major-General in the Indian army. The initially recorded spelling of the family name is demonstrated to be that of Nicholas Miles. This was dated 1177, in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, during the rule of King Henry 2nd of England, 1154 – 1189. Family names became important when governments presented individual tax collection. In England, this was known as Poll Tax. Consistently, family names in each nation have proceeded to “grow” frequently prompting amazing variations of the first spelling.


Peregrine White, (1620-1704)

The first baby boy born on the Pilgrim ship the Mayflower in the harbor of Massachusetts, the second baby born on the Mayflower’s historic voyage, and the first known English child born to the Pilgrims in America. His parents, William White and his pregnant wife Susanna, with their son Resolved White and two servants, came on the Mayflower in 1620. Peregrine White was born while the Mayflower lay at anchor in the harbor at Cape Cod. In later life, he became a person of note in Plymouth Colony, active in both military and government affairs.

John Tipton, (1730-1813)

Was an American frontiersman and statesman who was active in the early development of the state of Tennessee. He is best remembered for leading the opposition to the State of Franklin movement in the 1780s, as well as for his rivalry with Franklinite leader John Sevier. He served in the legislatures of Virginia, North Carolina, the Southwest Territory, and Tennessee, and was a delegate to Tennessee’s 1796 constitutional convention. Tipton’s homestead still stands and is managed as the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site.

President George Washington, (1732-1799)

An American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father of the United States, who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Washington led the Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which established the Constitution of the United States and a federal government for the United States. Washington has been called the “Father of the Nation” for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the country.

Daniel Boone, (1734-1820)

An American pioneer and frontiersman whose exploits made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone became famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now Kentucky, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies.

President James Madison, (1751-1836)

An American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the “Father of the Constitution” for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the Constitution of the United States and the United States Bill of Rights. He co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States Secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.

William “Fighting Billy” Tipton, (1761-1849)

At 17 William enlisted in Parker’s Virginia Levies with whom he fought in the battle of Savannah. He was shot three times in the body while attacking Redoubt 11. He’s said to be a large, red-haired, handsome man, he was a colorful early settler of Tennessee despite disability from his wounds.

Sue Kerr Hicks, (1895-1980)

Was an American jurist who practiced law and served as a circuit court judge in the state of Tennessee. He is best known for his role as a co-instigator and prosecutor in the 1925 trial of John T. Scopes, a Dayton, Tennessee teacher accused of teaching the Theory of Evolution in violation of Tennessee state law. Hicks may have also been the inspiration for the Shel Silverstein song “A Boy Named Sue,” which was popularized by Johnny Cash in 1969.

Tristram Chalkley Coffin, (1909-1990)

Was a film and television actor from the latter 1930s through the 1970s, usually in westerns or other B-movie action-adventure productions.

President James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, (1924- )

An American philanthropist, former politician, and businessman who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as a Georgia State Senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Since leaving the presidency, Carter has remained engaged in political and social projects as a private citizen. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding The Carter Center.

Jesse Donald Knotts, (1924-2006)

Was an American actor and comedian. He was widely known for his role as Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show, a 1960s sitcom for which he earned five Emmy Awards. He also played Ralph Furley on the highly-rated sitcom Three’s Company from 1979 to 1984. He starred in multiple comedic films, including the leading role in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) and The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964). In 1979, TV Guide ranked him number 27 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.

Andy Samuel Griffith, (1926-2012)

Was an American actor, comedian, television producer, southern gospel singer, and writer whose career spanned seven decades in music and television. Known for his Southern drawl, his characters with a folksy-friendly personality, and his gruff but friendly voice.

Neil Alden Armstrong, (1930-2012)

Was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, and the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor.

Robert Martin Culp, (1930-2010)

Was an American actor, screenwriter, voice actor, and director, widely known for his work in television. Culp earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy (1965–1968), the espionage television series in which co-star Bill Cosby and he played secret agents. Before this, he starred in the CBS/Four Star Western series Trackdown as Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman in 71 episodes from 1957 to 1959. The 1980s brought him back to television as FBI Agent Bill Maxwell on The Greatest American Hero. Later he had a recurring role as Warren Whelan on Everybody Loves Raymond. Culp gave hundreds of performances in a career spanning more than 50 years.

Henry John “John Denver” Deutschendorf, (1943-1997)

Was an American singer-songwriter, activist, and humanitarian whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career with folk music groups during the late 1960s. Starting in the 1970s, he was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and one of its best-selling artists. By 1974, he was one of America’s best-selling performers; AllMusic has called Denver “among the most beloved entertainers of his era”.

John Christopher Depp, (1963- )

Is an American actor, producer, and musician. He is the recipient of various accolades, including a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, in addition to nominations for three Academy Awards and two British Academy Film Awards.

Joseph Heath Shuler, (1971- )

An American businessman, former NFL quarterback, and former U.S. Representative for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district from 2007 to 2013. He was a member of the Democratic Party and the Blue Dog Coalition. In the 2006 House elections, Shuler defeated incumbent Charles H. Taylor but retired after his district was redrawn. During his tenure in Congress, Shuler was known for challenging the leadership of his party, and in 2010 ran against Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader.

Kevin Charles Young, (1975- )

One can’t mention Kevin Young without thinking of Disciple. The brainchild of Kevin, Brad, Adrian, and Tim. This group is also the group I roadied with for about 2 years. I would later find out that we were related and to become close to his parents, Charles and Donna.

Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon, (1976- )

Is an American actress, producer, and entrepreneur. The recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a British Academy Film Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award, she is one of the highest-paid actresses in the world as of 2019. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006 and 2015, and Forbes listed her among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2019.

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