Daniel Huffines was born in 1787 Stokes County, North Carolina. His father, Johann Daniel Hofheintz, came to America from his homeland in Germany in 1763, landing in Philadelphia on 25 November of that year aboard the ship “Pallas”, captained by Richard Milner. His mother, Catharina Wagner, was a sister to the Reverend Tobias Wagner of the Pennsylvania German Reform Church. After marrying in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1769, Johann Daniel and Catharina removed to Stokes County, North Carolina where Daniel and his siblings were born.
Daniel’s early years were spent in the company of his family in Stokes, and later Surry County, North Carolina, along the waters of Elliot‘s and Double O Mill Creeks. His father was a farmer and later records tell us that Daniel learned and carried on this tradition. It is unknown if Daniel received an education, though it is doubtful given the era in which he was born. Formal education at this time was considered a luxury afforded the wealthy. For the general population, more emphasis was placed on hard labor and survival in the wilds of a budding nation.
As Daniel approached the age of maturity, he followed in his siblings’ footsteps and set off on the Daniel Boone trail for Tennessee, possibly as part of a wagon train or perhaps he began his journey alone on horseback or on foot. It is suspected that he first stopped for a visit with his older brother Phillip in Washington County, Tennessee before heading further west along the Walton Trail.
Clues taken from later records concerning the children of Daniel Huffines which state their places of birth as Tennessee, suggest it is highly likely that Daniel first arrived in Smith County, Tennessee around 1810. Census records for that year, which would have provided valuable information about Daniel Huffines, were lost many years ago, and those census records of North Carolina which are extant fail to show him listed there.
With his eldest three children, born 1814, 1816, and 1818, and all of them having been born in Tennessee, it is likely that Daniel met and married his wife in Smith County. Though earlier researchers maintain that Mary Jane Teel, Daniel’s wife, was the daughter of Johann Adam Diehl/Teel and his wife Maria Magdalena Burkhart, other records suggest otherwise. It is now believed that Mary Teel was the daughter of Johann Nicholas Teel and his first wife, Priscilla, who were situated in Smith County during the time that Daniel and Mary likely married. At no other time, in no other place, have the Teels and Daniel Huffines been found to have co-existed together.
Children born to Daniel Huffines and Mary Jane Teel are as follows: Joanna F. Huffines born March 11, 1814, married March 4, 1832 to James William Draper; William A. Huffines born July 20, 1816, died June 20, 1857, married Jane Katherine Teel; John Thomas Huffines born August 6, 1818, died 1886, married (1) Harriet Cornwell (2) Margaret; Adam Samuel Huffines born January 21, 1821, died December 29, 1881, married Amanda C. White; Amanda Jane 'Manda' Huffines born June 10, 1822, died May 7, 1863, married Robert F. Richmond; Riley Washington Huffines born September 3, 1824, died March 1, 1876, married Sarah 'Sally' Ray; George Allen Huffines born November 3, 1826, died 1867; James Hollin Huffines born April 1, 1829, died before May 30, 1859, married Mary Jane Lambert; Timothy Walton Huffines born June 26, 1834; Mary Huffines born October 11, 1837, died 1861, married Doctor Barton Sloan.
The first official record we can find of Daniel Huffines, aside from the births of his children as told from later records, is dated November 8, 1819 in Smith County, Tennessee. On this date, Daniel entered a deed transaction with the county clerk for a 100 acre parcel of land on the “North side of the Cumberland River on the headwaters of a branch of Turkey Creek”, purchased from David Williams for the sum of “seven hundred dollars in hand paid“. This land adjoined on one side, John Teel, believed to have been the son of Johann Nicholas Teel, and brother to Mary Jane Teel Huffines.
In the 1820 Smith County, Tennessee census, Daniel Huffines was listed as “David Huphiner”. At this time, his family consisted of 2 sons (William and John Thomas) aged 0 to 10 years old; 1 daughter (Joanna) aged 0 to 10 years; and he and his wife, both 26 to 45 years.
By deed dated Novemeber 20, 1822 (registered April 15, 1823), Daniel purchased a tract of “sixty five acres, more or less” from his neighbor and brother-in-law, John Teel, “in consideration of one hundred and fifty nine dollars in hand paid.” This land was a portion of the tract of land adjoining the 100 acre tract Daniel purchased some years before from David Williams. It is believed that John Teel was moving from the area, possibly joining his father and other siblings in Gibson County, Indiana.
The final record yet found of Daniel Huffines in Smith County, is dated May 24, 1824 (recorded July 20, 1824). At this time, he sold his land, “containing 102 acres on the waters of Turkey Creek” to Peyton T. Lemon. This deed states that Daniel was “of Jackson County”, meaning that sometime between Novmeber 20, 1822 and May 24, 1824, Daniel had removed his family to Jackson County.
Jackson County proved to be the place where Daniel and Mary would settle and live the remainder of their lives. On January 11, 1825, Daniel registered a Federal Tennessee land grant (grant number 730) with the State of Tennessee, in which it states that he purchased 100 acres of land “for and in consideration of twelve and one half cents per acre . . . On the waters of Indian Creek, the north side of the Cumberland River.”
Daniel and Mary and their growing family appear in Jackson County census records in 1830, 1840, and 1850, and Daniel is listed in numerous court documents and cases of the county. It is assumed that Mary died between 1850 and 1860, given that she did not appear in the 1860 census. Daniel, however, was still alive and living with his son, George Huffines, in 1860. It is believed that Daniel died between 1860 and the time of the census enumeration in 1870.