Reference Entry

Sumner, Jethro

Lindley S. Butler

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Sumner, Jethro (1733–18 March 1785), revolutionary war general, was the son of Jethro Sumner and Margaret Sullivan of Nansemond County, Virginia. Nothing is known of his childhood or education. During the French and Indian War he served in the militia from 1755 to 1761. Appointed a lieutenant in 1758, he commanded Fort Bedford in 1760 and ended the war as a captain. In 1764 he moved to Granville County, North Carolina, and soon married Mary Hurst, the daughter of a wealthy planter. The Sumners had three children. Bute County (now Warren County) was formed from Granville in 1764, and the new county seat was located on Sumner’s land, where he soon opened a tavern. A British traveler in 1774 wrote that Sumner was an “agreeable … host” who was “of a person lusty, and rather handsome, with an easy and genteel address.” Sumner eventually accumulated thirty-five slaves and over 20,000 acres of land, including 12,000 acres in Tennessee granted for his later military service. He became a justice of the peace in 1768 and served as the county sheriff from 1772 to 1777....

Reference Entry.  719 words. 

Subjects: Military History ; Land Forces and Warfare

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