The Luttrell Family
- by Terril D. Littrell, Ph.D

The Luttrell family is of ancient origin and in history many distinguished persons bear the name. Sir Winston Churchill is quoted as saying that the Luttrells were one of the three most important families in England. There is a large Luttrell Castle at Dunster, England that covers a large space on one of the nearby mountains - at the foot of the mountains there is a large "Luttrell Arms Hotel". Some of the heirs to this estate in England spell their names Luttrell.

John Luttrell was chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1317 and occupied other high offices. Edward Luttrell was an artist of note in the latter half of the seventeenth century and the first years of the eighteenth. He is said to have invented the art of copper engraving. Little is known about Walter Luttrell who came to America in May, 1635 from England. He was twenty years old, and came on the ship Alexander.

Thomas Luttrell was head of a long and illustrious line of Luttrells. He was succeeded by his son, Simon Luttrell, who was a gallant officer under King James II and was a member of the Irish Parliament of 1698 from County Dublin and was appointed Military Governor of the City of Dublin. The book, "First Families of American" states that Simon Luttrell was also at one time Gentleman of the Bed Chamber to Charles II.

Robert Luttrell, son of Simon came from Ireland and settled in Prince William County, Virginia between 1690-1706. He married his cousin, Anne, daughter of Viscount Gormanston.

Simon was succeeded by his brother, Henry Luttrell, who was also a gallant soldier and became a Major General. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Halkin, of Flintshire. His son, Simon Luttrell III, married Maria, daughter of Sir Nicholas Lawes, and was raised to the Irish Peerage first as Baron Irnham, later as Viscount Carhamon, later still as Earl of Carhamon or Carhampton, He named his son, Henry Lawes Luttrell, who is accepted as the greatest Luttrell in Britain's history. He left no children, however, to succeed to the title which went therefor to his brother John Luttrell. As sister of these two Luttrells was Anne Luttrell, who married the Duke of Cumberland, brother to King George III. John Luttrell, third Earl of Carhampton, died in 1829, without children, and the title became extinct.

There was, however, another brother of Henry Lawes Luttrell, Temple Luttrell, who attained distinction in public affairs, first going into the Naval service. He died in France in 1803 without children.

Another brother of Henry Lawes Luttrell, first Earls of Carhampton, was James, and like Temple Luttrell, he adopted the Navy early in life as his particular profession. He commanded the Portland and the Mediator, and in an engagement in December, 1782, with an American squadron, he displayed great courage and resource and is said to have taken his own ship and his prizes safely into an English port.

Henry Luttrell was another scion of the family who achieved fame and he took literature for his forte. He was the friend and contemporary of Thomas Moore and wrote a great deal, though not all he wrote has been published. He lived to a great age, was described as a great with, an ideal conversationalist and the greatest epigram maker of his day.

During the political upheavals in England, member of collateral branches of the Luttrell family migrated to America. They were younger sons, doubtless, of the family and possibly without fortune other than name and courage. But the first Luttrell mentioned in Tennessee history must have been closely connected with the rich and powerful family of which Henry Lawes Luttrell was the first Earl and Anne Luttrell, Duchess of Cumberland, for he was evidently a man of wealth and position.

This John Luttrell was associated with Colonel Richard Henderson and "other men of capital," namely Thomas Hart, John Williams, James Hogg, Nathaniel Hart, David Hart, Leonard H. Bulloch, and William Johnston. They paid, it is said, ten thousand pounds sterling in merchandise to the Indians for certain lands and at that time (1775), such a sum was an enormous fortune. The purchase was called Transylvania and the nine proprietors at first contemplated a separate and independent Government, but in a memorial addressed to the Continental Congress of 1775, the asked that Transylvania be added to the number of the United Colonies. "Having their hearts warmed with the same noble spirit that animates the colonies and moved with indignation at the late ministerial and parliamentary usurpation's, it is the earnest wish of the proprietors of Transylvania to be considered by the colonies as brethren engaged in the same great cause of liberty and mankind."

John Luttrell, who was of Cheatham county, North Carolina, was Clerk of Crown at Hillsboro, 1770, before the Revolution, a Colonel in the American Army, during the Revolution and he evidently had no children. He willed his land to his widow and to his three brothers William, Hugh, and Thomas of Westmoreland County, Virginia. His widow, the daughter of John Hart of North Carolina paid Hugh and Thomas cash for their share of the land located in Tennessee. Later on it was believed that Hugh and Thomas died because they went on an expedition and never returned. The younger brother William claimed John Luttrell's widows part of the Transylvania purchase. William married a Cherokee Indian women named Kisiah and it is from this union that the Kentucky and Tennessee family may have sprung. William Luttrell lived in Westmoreland County, Virginia in 1804; this later became Franklin County, Kentucky.

The land purchased was "all south of the Kentucky River, beginning at the mouth of junction of said river with the Ohio to its source, thence south into Tennessee, until a westwardly line should cross the Cumberland Mountains so as to strike the Ridge which divides the waters of the Tennessee River from those of the Cumberland, and with that ridge to the Ohio River, and with that river to the mouth of the Kentucky River aforesaid."

This interesting estate purchased from the Cherokees included most of the land, or at least a very large portion of the land now known as Kentucky and Tennessee.

The company took possession on April 20, 1775, the Governor of North Carolina issued a proclamation declaring the purchase illegal and Virginia did the same. Later the State of North Carolina allowed the proprietors two hundred thousand acres in lieu of their purchase. The State of Virginia declared a similar grant, and the State of Tennessee gave them a similar grant. So, though the proprietors did not own the whole of Tennessee and Kentucky they had a large slice. Judge Henderson opened a land office in Nashville, then the French Lick for the sale of these lands.

Beginning with the Revolution we have in Virginia four Luttrells, Rodham Luttrell, John Luttrell, Richard Luttrell and Michael Luttrell, all soldiers in that war.

With the publication in 1975 of "Some Original Land Grant Surveys Along Green River in Lincoln and Casey Counties, Kentucky (1781- 1836)" we find some Luttrells in this area. Jesse, Joshua, Michael, Nathan and Rodham Luttrell all served as chairmen with survey parties who surveyed land in these counties. No doubt Joshua, Rodham and their sons settled in Casey County and were there from 1789 to 1840.

According to the book, "Notable Southern Families", James William Luttrell was probably born around 1770. His father Richard Luttrell was a soldier of the Revolution from Richmond County Virginian; he was living there in 1783.

James William Luttrell married Elizabeth Witt, daughter of Jesse Witt, another soldier of the Revolution from Virginia. William and Elizabeth probably lived in Amherst County, Virginian from 1788 to 1796.

Elizabeth (Witt) Luttrell's father, Jesse Witt, was probably the son of John Witt born in Albemarle County, Virginia in 1750. He died in Knox County, Tennessee in October, 1825. It is believed that John Witt's mother was also named Elizabeth. The Witts were Huguenot emigrants from France.

William and Elizabeth moved to Tennessee in 1796 and settled in the "Fork" of the French Broad. Their eldest son was John Luttrell. Their second son and third child was Richard Luttrell II, who was born in Virginia, probably in Amherst County, January 6, 1792.

What direct relation the Luttrells who were originally from Amherst County Virginia were to the Luttrells in Casey County, Kentucky is not known for sure.

Richard R. Luttrell was married to Jincy Jane Russell on February 4, 1840. It is believed to them a son was born named Matt Luttrell on September 9, 1844 in Casey County, Kentucky. Therefor, he should have been included in the 1850 Census being 4 years old, but his name was not found there. Richard R. Luttrell was 46 years old in 1850. His wife, Jincy must have died because Richard was living with his son James, age 19. Also living in the same house was Rosanna Russell age 47, and her six children, but Matt was not listed as a child. In years to come Matt told his children that he was illegitimate. The mystery remains about just how he is related to Richard R. Luttrell. Matt's death certificate shows his father as Richard Luttrell and Narray Russell as his mother.

In a personal letter to me, on October 26, 1973, Dr. David E. Luttrell from Winslow, Indiana wrote: "I am quite sure that my grandfather Pleasant Luttrell, born 1835 and your great, great- grandfather Matt Luttrell were brothers. I have heard my father mention Matt Luttrell many times, and it seems he called him Uncle Matt. Pleasant Luttrell was in the Civil War and after the war he changed to spelling his name to Luttrull."

Matt Luttrell had a son named James Harvey Luttrell who was born May 12, 1876, probably in McClain Co. Kentucky. He changed his name to Littrell because he and his father had a bad relationship.

James Harvey had a son, named Ruby Terrell born November 22, 1898. He married Hallie Stone in Webster County, Kentucky and they called themselves Littrell. They had a son named James Edward born July 13, 1920. He grew up in Henderson County, Kentucky.

On March 9, 1941 James Edward and Leola Williams Littrell had a son named Terril Donald. This is me! I was born and reared in Henderson County, Kentucky. Anyone who can help me find some of the missing links of my family tree will be much appreciated.

Thank you,
Terril D. Littrell, Ph.D

Last Updated: May 10, 1998