(Our sincere thanks to Pauline Mitchell Pierce, Twylla Teer and Darren Altom, for the information they contributed.) 

Our Hess, or Hesse, family probably had its origin in the state of Hesse, or Hessen, in that part of West Germany which was once Prussia. Some sources say the name originated in Austria. The name Hess means "the hooded people". The Hess family was of German descent.

Early immigration records show many listings for the Hess surname. Hess immigrants began arriving in America primarily in the early 1700's. Among the earliest immigrants were Joseph Hess to New York in 1709; Samuel Hess to America in 1731; John Hess to Pennsylvania in 1729; Abraham Hess, who was bound to James Gerald, entered America in 1728; John Hess, a tallow chandler, to New York City, in 1762; and Edward Hess to America in 1746, at the age of 19 years. Many of the early Hess immigrants were farmers, who settled in large numbers on the rich farmlands of Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee.


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Pauline Mitchell Pierce Via, a fellow Hess researcher, has provided us with the following family folklore: "The Hess brothers, Samuel, Solomon, and William, were aboard a British vessel, coming from their native Germany in the late 1700's, when they jumped ship off the coast of North Carolina and headed west. They eventually met a party of pioneers and traveled down the Mississippi River by keel boat, until they reached Arkansas' White River."   Pauline expressed her doubts about the accuracy of this story and we must agree.   Census records indicate our Solomon and Samuel Hess were born in the late 1700's in Illinois.  The story is interesting, however.    

We believe our 4th great grandfather was John Hess, who born about 1755, in Pennsylvania.    John Hess married Mary (maiden name unknown), who would have been our 4th great grandmother.    The couple settled in Blount County, Tennessee in the mid 1790's.   Darren Altom, a Hess researcher, states that John Hess is to be found in Blount County, Tennessee records about 1796, and that when he died in 1808, his widow Mary relinquished her right to being the administratix of his estate.  

Darren Altom states that "in 1801 on a petition in Blount County Tennessee you find the names John Penter listed twice, Isaac Tate and John Hess."

The following Blount County, Tennessee records have been found.   (We are unsure if all those mentioned are descendants of John and Mary.)
1808 - land assigned to William Hess
1810 - John Walker appointed guardian of Mary Hess
1815 - Joseph Walker appointed guardian of Susannah Hess
1819 - Russell Bates sells his part as heir of John Hess

Possible children of John Hess and Mary

1. William Hess was probably born about 1786, in PA.      An assignment of a plat and certificate of survey from David Phillips to William Hess was proven in open court in 1808, Blount Co, TN, by James Houston and Enoch Parsons.    William was thought by some researchers to have settled in Independence Co, AR for a very brief time about 1814. 

2. Ann Hess was born about 1789, in PA.   

3. Samuel Hess was born about 1790, probably in IL.    He settled in Independence Co, AR about 1811.

4. Solomon Hess was born about 1793, probably in IL.   He settled in Independence Co, AR about 1814.       (our line)

5. John Hess was born about 1795, probably in TN.    John's name appears in Blount Co, TN court records.    John married Mary "Polly" Gardner on April 25, 1820, in Blount Co.    The couple  appears on the 1830 Blount Co, TN census with two daughters.     John died prior to 1840, in Blount Co.     Mary appears on the 1840 Blount Co census.   

6. Mary Hess was born about 1797, in TN.    She married Russell Bates about 1815, in TN.     Russell Bates was born 1792, in VA, the son of James Alexander Bates and Mary Murphy.    The couple settled in Independence Co, AR about 1820.     The couple appears on the 1830 Independence Co, AR census with 6 children.     The family moved to Washington Co, AR prior to 1838.    The couple appears on the 1840 Washington Co, AR census with three children and on the 1850 Washington Co census with their two sons.    Russell died prior to 1859, in Washington Co.   The 1860 Washington Co, AR census shows Mary, age 66, living with son William.     Children included: (1) Elizabeth Bates, b. abt 1817, TN; (2) William H. Bates, b. abt 1820, TN; (3) Susan Bates, b. abt 1821, AR; (4) Tabitha Bates, b. Oct 10, 1824, AR; d. aft June 14, 1900, Johnson Co, AR; m. Dr. Robert Minor Winn in 1841, Washington Co, AR and (5) Harvey Bates, b. abt 1828, AR 

7. Susannah Hess was born about 1800, in TN.     In 1815 it was ordered by the Blount Co, TN court that Alexander Gamble, William Williamson and James Taylor be appointed commissioners to settle with Joseph Walker guardian of Susannah Hess.    


I am not a professional genealogist and although I have researched much of the information found at this site, some of it was given to me by other researchers and may not have been documented. Each bit of information found here should be carefully researched and proved or disproved by you, the researcher. Researchers may copy information found at this site for their own personal use and to share with other researchers or genealogical organizations. Any commercial use or distribution without the written consent of this author is prohibited.

Others researching the Hess line:
Pauline Mitchell Pierce Via -- descendant of Solomon's son Thomas Wright Hess
Twylla Teer -- descendant of Samuel's daughter Tabitha Hess Allen
Darren Altom -- descendant of Samuel's daughter Tabitha Hess Allen
Linda Gayle -- descendant of Samuel's son Solomon Hess
Linda's SouthernGrace website with Hess information
Rex Hess -- descendant of Mathias Hess from Strasbourg, France
Cindy Weyer -- descendant of George W. Hess, born 1827 in OH or PA; d. 1905 in AR
Anita Schmidt -- descendant of Russell Bates and Mary Hess Bates

The music you are hearing is Somewhere Out There.

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