The family name may have been originally Tatham (meaning 'from' the place) in Lancashire, England.

Nathaniel was christened on 18 Nov 1599 at Holy Trinity the Less Church,  the son of William Tatum and Ellen Kirk who married on 3 Aug 1587 at St. Benet Grace Church in London. [Holy Trinity the LessChurch was an Anglican Church in the center of London, near St. Paul's Cathedral.  It was started in 1540 and destroyed by fire in 1666 in the Great Fire of London and was not rebuilt.  St. Benet Grace Church on Gracechurch St. was also destroyed by the 1666 fire.]
His parents must have died when he was young because he was on a list at Bridewell Royal Hospital records, 27 Feb. 1618/19 of 75 boys and 25 girls who were to go to Virginia. These children were 8-16 years old and had been found  "running wild in the streets" of London, "sleeping under stalls", and begging and had been committed to Bridewell, which served as a house of correction. They were mainly homeless waifs though some were probably petty pilferers. 
One of the ships that brought these children to Virginia was the "George" which left London March 1619 and arrived in Virginia in May.  [In March 1617/18, Pocahontas and her husband and family were scheduled to sail on the "George" back to Virginia, but she became ill from tuberculosis, was taken off the ship at Gravesend and died there.  In May her father, Powhatan died--perhaps when he heard the news of his daughter's death--leaving his cruel brother in charge of the tribe.]

One account says that 3 brothers, Augustine, Lawrence, and Nathaneill Tatham sailed from Southhampton, England, on the Good Ship George in 1619 for America via Bermuda. In 1620 this ship landed in New Jersey where Augustine remained and Nathaniell traveled on to Virginia.  Nothing is known of Lawrence except that descendants of Nathaniel sometimes gave their children the name Lawrence. [from Meadia Research]

From the Virginia Colonial Record: "So far as can be definitely ascertained, the first in America, Nathaniell Tatham, who immigrated to Virginia and settled in Charles City County." Nathaniel left England in March 1619 and after a 2-month voyage arrived in Jamestown, Va. in May.

He arrived in time to hear about the first representative assembly in the New World which was convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619. 
In 1619 a Dutch trader stopped at the Jamestown port and exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. At the time these first Africans were only indentured servants, similar to poor white Englishmen. (The race-based system of slavery didn't fully develop until the 1680's.) 
Though there was peace for a while between the colonists and the Indians because of the marriage of Pocahontas, daughter of the Algonquian chief Powhatan. Pocahontas died in 1617 in England. Her son, Thomas was raised in England but came to Virginia after he was grown. John Rolfe married again to Jane Pierce in 1619 and they had a baby girl in 1620. 

By 1622 the Indians had become disenchanted with the English settlers and, in 1622, attacked the out plantations in the Good Friday Massacre, killing 347 settlers, setting off a war that lasted a decade. A last-minute warning by Chanco, an Indian who was living with a white family and had become a Christian, spared Jamestown, but John Rolfe was killed in the attack, possibly by Powhatan's successor and brother, Opechancanough, the uncle of Pocahontas. 

In May 1623 Captain William Tucker concludes peace negotiations with a Powhatan village by proposing a toast with a drink laced with poison prepared by Dr. John Potts; 200 Powhatans die instantly and another 50 are slaughtered.

According to the records 7,289 people migrated to Virginia between 1609 and 1624, mostly as indentured servants.  6,040 of those died of disease, starvation or infections acquired onboard the ships in passage.   Until the 1660's only 20% of the arrivals in a given year survived.
From 1625-1640: An estimated 1,000 or more indentured servants arrived each year, some orphans and condemned criminals but mostly the unemployed seeking economic opportunity.

<>In Feb 1623/24 Nathaniel was living in the West and Shirley Hundred and at Shirley Hundred, Charles City (on the north side of the James River), and was in the muster, 22 Jan 1624/5. He was listed as 20 years old and having come to Virginia in 1619 on the "George."

In 1624 when he was 25 years old, Nathaniel moved from the north side of the James River to the south side.  

Charles City was one of the four great corporations set up by the Virginia Company of London in 1618.

In 1634 Virginia was divided into 8 counties with Charles City County being one with its original area intact.  Charles City County lay on both sides of the James River.

When he was 39 years old, Nathaniel patented 100 acres of land in Charles City County on Appomattox River, 25 July 1638, for transporting his wife Ann and his daughter Mary Tatum. This would lead us to believe that he went back to England, married, had a child, and brought them to Virginia, giving him claim to a 100-acre tract of land. This land adjoined a 500-acre patent to him which he re-patented 4 Dec. 1641.

<>An Act of Assembly of 6 Jan. 1639/40 named Nathaniel Tatum, Cheney Boyce, and Anthony Wyatt as a "Viewers of Tobacco" for Charles City for the north side of Appomattox River. 

1644, April 18: Chief Opechancanough leads Indians in an attack, killing nearly 500 colonists.

1644, October: A resident in Jamestown shoots Chief Opechancanough, a prisoner, in the back.

1651: First Indian Reservation is created near Richmond, Virginia.

1660, March 3: The Virginia Assembly elects Berkeley to Governorship.

1661: Virginia institutionalizes slavery with a law that makes the status of the mother determine slave or free status of the child.

1669: South Carolina founded


Considering the hardships and dangers of the times, Nathaniel lived to be an old man of about 76 years old.  Nathaniel was living as late as 27 Jan. 1675/6 when a deed of gift from Nathaniel Tatum the Elder to his grandson Nathaniel Tatum was recorded in Bristol Parish court.

Ann died before April 26, 1684 because a land patent of that date, for 150 acres in Isle of Wright County to Mr. Thomas Pitt, described the land as that which "Ann Tatum died seized of".

1. MARY TATUM, must be the oldest since she is the only one mentioned as having made the trip from England with her parents before 1638.

2. NATHANIEL TATUM II, b abt 1635, Charles City, Va.  He married Elizabeth Turner. Died bef 1719, Prince George County, VA
Children: Nathaniel III, maybe also Edward, Christopher, Peter and Henry.

3. SAMUEL TATUM, born abt 1630 in Charles City Co, Va. He married Mary Elizabeth Moore. 
Children: Nathaniel (1727, m Elizabeth), Ann, Rebecca, Mary, Barbara, Samuel (m Phoebe)

<>There may also have been a son named Isaac Tatum (there is mention of an Isaac Tatum in Charles City county court records),  and also John Tatum has also been mentioned as a son of Nathaniel's.



Nathaniel Tatum II

2nd generation

Nathaniel II at WikiTree

He was born abt 1635 in Charles City Co, Va. where he lived most of his life. 

One account says he married Elizabeth Turner, and later supposedly died in Barbados in 1711. Perhaps he had business there.  There were other Tatums who came to Virginia from Barbados.

However, A short bio of Christopher Robertson I, says that his daughter Marie "married Nathaniel Tatum, whose father was a homeless waif sent here from London’s Bridewell Royall Hospital."


It goes on to say that Tatum was the son of Nathaniel Tatum I (1599) and his wife Ann —. The elder Nathaniel Tatum was a “Bridewell Boy,” one of 75 homeless London waifs committed to Bridewell Royal Hospital and shipped to the Tobacco Colonies.

He named his sons Edward, Henry, and Christopher (who were the 3 brothers of Marie).

Christopher Robertson II and the Tatums were neighbors in Prince George County.

Nathaniel and his sons, Edward and Nathaniel Jr., were serving in a company of dragoons in Charles City County in 1701.

1.    NATHANIEL TATUM III, b abt 1660-65, Charles City, Va.  He married Ann ? before 1719. [see below] 


Nathaniel Tatum III

3rd generation

He was born abt 1660-65 in  Charles City, Va.  He married Ann ? before 1719. He had 10 known children, one of them being Benjamin. His will was dated oct 18, 1737 in Norfolk Co, Va

1.    BENJAMIN TATUM, b 1730, King William Co, Va.  He married Mary Elizabeth Gravett. 


Benjamin Tatum

4th generation

Benjamin was born in 1730 in King William Co, Va.  (at right is a 1730 map of


He married Mary Elizabeth Gravett about 1752 in Lulnenburg Co, Va.

(Several related families-Fulliloves, Craftons, Gravets, Tatums-

moved to Lunenburg Co.) Tax records show him in Lunenburg County, VA in 1752 
He became prosperous, owning 1400 acres, 42 slaves and 3000 lbs at his death. 
Though his wife's last name can't be proved, it is thought to be Gravet

(partly because a son and several descendants through the generations had that name.) 
Lunenburg Co, Va Deeds: -#518  "Benjamin Tatum - 15 Dec 1757 -

400 acres on the Brs of the middle and N forks of Meher"

1776 Lunenburg Co, VA - 1776 Tythables 
Reuben Tatum - 1 Tithe 
Benjamin Tatum, William Tatum - 4 Tithes 
Joseph Tatum - 1 Tithe

1810 Virginia: 
Benjamin Tatum 0-1-1-0-1     0-0-0-0-1     0     9 
Gravat Tatum 1-0-0-0-1     1-3-0-1- 0     0     8 
James Tatum 0-0 -0-1-0     1-0-1- 0-0     0     1 
Reubin Tatum 2-1-0-1-0     2-1-0-1-1     0     1 
Thomas Tatum 0-1-2-1-1     0-0-2-1-1     0     1 
[Males under 10 - 10-16 - 16-26 - 26-45 - over 45 
Females: under 10 - 10-16 - 16-26 - 26-45 - over 45 
Free - Slaves]

Benjamin, though he was wealthy, died without a will. He was about 80 years old. Children's names from his estate settlement (no will) 
Reuben (m Ann Crafton) 
Joseph (m Mary ?) 
Orana (m William Fullilove) 
William (m Mary Crenshaw) 
Susanna (m John Haley) 
Mary (m Daniel Lafoe) 
Sarah (m Elam Lewis) 
Gravet (m Nancy Roberts) 
Wealthy (m John Munday) 
Charity (m James Robertson) 
John (m Mary ?) 
Benjamin G. (m Mary ?) 
Lucy (unmarried when her father died.

Wife, Mary Elizabeth died in 1818, Charlotte Co, Va.

Children of Benjamin & Mary: 
1.    REUBEN TATUM, Sr., b abt 1753, Lunenburg Co, Va.; married Anne Crafton.

2.    ORENA TATUM, born abt 1755, Lunenburg Co, Va.; married William Orsemus Fullilove. 
    Children: Susanna (married her cousin, Crafton Tatum, son of Reuben Sr), Elizabeth (married Abner Hill).

3.    JOSEPH TATUM, born 1756, married Mary ?

4.    WILLIAM TATUM, born 1760, Lunenburg Co, Va; married Mary Crenshaw; children: Absalom H. Tatum

5.    SARAH "Sally" TATUM, married Elam Lewis

6.    GRAVET TATUM, born 1765; married Nancy Roberts

7.    JOHN TATUM, married Mary ?

8.    BENJAMIN G. TATUM, born 1780; married Mary ?

9.    LUCY TATUM, born abt 1780

10.    CHARITY TATUM, married James Robertson

11.    SUSANNA TATUM, married John Haley

12.    WEALTHY TATUM, married John Munday

13.    MARY TATUM, married Daniel Lefoe 


Reuben Tatum, Sr.

5th generation

Reuben Sr. was born abt 1753 in Lunenburg Co, Va. He married Ann Crafton (daughter of James C. Crafton & Karrenhapprich ?) Ann's mother was named for one of Job's daughters in the Bible and lived to be 100 years old. 
Reuben Tatum was the least well-to-do of his family, never owning property. His children (unlike their wealthy cousins) had no land to look after and no reason to stay in Virginia. So, after Reuben died fairly young, his children went west. 
He died before 1813 when his father, Benjamin died.

1.    CRAFTON TATUM, born 1775, Va. He married in Lunenburg Co, Va in 1794 to his cousin, Susanna Fullilove (daug of Orena Tatum Fullilove). They moved to Madison Co, Ky with his Fullilove in-laws. by 1830 he was in Lawrence Co, Ind. with some of his married children. Children: Elizabeth, Gravet, Orena, William, Matilda, North America, Lucy, Susanna, Rebecca.

2.    REUBEN TATUM Jr., 1776-1852. Married Frances Sammons. [see below]


4.    ELIZABETH TATUM, m ? Lester



7.    POLLY TATUM, married Henry Stokes

8.    SALLY TATUM, married Calwalleder Jones, 1807

9    (maybe) JOHN TATUM  


Reuben Tatum, Jr.

6th generation

Reuben Jr. was born mar. 22, 1776 in Virginia. He married Frances Sammons, Jan. 15, 1798 in Lunenburg Co, Va.   He was not mentioned in his grandfather's will of 1813 as a son of Reuben Sr. 
He was in the War of 1812 - a private in 4 Reg't (Greenhill's) Virginia Militia, Lieut. John Adams' Company. At the time he lived in Charlotte, Va. He served 3 months from Sept 1, 1814 to Dec 1, 1814. (A law was passed for veteran land grants to be distributed in Kentucky in 1815 and it began being distributed in 1816.) 
He moved to Tennessee between 1820 and 1825. In 1830 he was in Williamson Co, Tn. In 1836 he bought 200 acres of land on Trace Creek in Lewis Co, Tn. In 1840 he was in Wayne Co, Tn. 
In 1847 Lewis Co, TN it was ordered by County Court that Reuben Tatum may have the privilege to build a Grist Mill on the lands of his own across the waters of Trace Creek in Lewis County. 
In 1850 he was still in Lewis Co, Tn (76 years old). Next door to them lived John & Mary Prewett (age 76) who may have been the father of Reuben G.'s wife, Lucinda Pruitt.

1.    CLEMENT J. TATUM, b 1806. Married Mary C. Young. Lived in Lewis Co, Tn.  Children: Joseph, Isaac, Lucy, William N., Joshua T., Christian

2.    REUBEN G. (maybe Gravett) TATUM, b 1814. Married Lucinda Pruitt [see next generation]

3.     MARY FRANCES TATUM, b April 7, 1821

4.    THOMAS THERNAS TATUM, (called Thernas) was born 1825. Married Eliza Crowell. He was a miller (grist mills),  a Freewill Baptist preacher and a judge. He also farmed and raised race horses. He first lived in Lewis Co, Tn., then moved to Texas for a year in 1880, then to Mena, Polk Co, Ark. where he died. Children: William B., Reuben Moses, Benjamin David, Thomas J., Isaac Joseph, Mary Rovena, John J., Josephine Celia, George Walter, Leroy Francis

5.    SUSAN TATUM, married Moses Wiley.


Nathaniel Tatum I

1599 - 1675

1st generation in America

See also: