Mary, if you are confused about the many references to Dabney Pettus having married Ann Overton, it is because so much misinformation or unsubstantiated information has been published on the subject for nearly a century. The earliest source of this particular item is an unpublished work by Charles J. Colcock in 1908, which attributes the supposed marriage of Dabney Pettus and Ann Overton to Mrs. Eastham (Ann Pettus Eastham of Louisa County, Virginia, a pioneer in Pettus genealogy). Colcock and Eastham thought that Dabney was the son of Capt. Thomas Pettus, son of Col. Thomas Pettus of the Virginia Council. Ann supposedly was the daughter of Samuel Overton of Virginia.
Unfortunately, none of the statements about Dabney and Ann are supported by any reliable evidence; yet those statements continue to be passed along as facts, even in recent genealogical publications.
In the first place, the earliest Dabney Pettus on record was the son of Stephen Pettus of Hanover County, Virginia. Dabney was identified as Stephen's son in the will of Capt. George Dabney of King William County, Virginia, made in 1729. That will came to light over 60 years ago, as I recall, and has been published at least twice--once in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography and once in a Virginia genealogical magazine. Capt. Dabney's will also mentions his daughter Mary Pettus. That fact suggests that Mary was Dabney Pettus's mother and the wife of Stephen Pettus, but the will does not actually state Mary'srelationship to Stephen or Dabney Pettus (I believe that she was Stephen's wife, by the way, but I can't prove it).
A deed-of-gift, dated 27 January 1761, from John Rhodes of Louisa County, Virginia, to his son-in-law Dabney Pettus indicates that Dabney married Rhodes's daughter. Dabney mentioned his wife Elizabeth in a deed and in his will made in 1781. Thus, the evidence indicates that the earliest Dabney Pettus on record married Elizabeth Rhodes.
As for Ann Overton, I know of no early record that identifies her parents or that proves that was such a person who married a Pettus (although I believe that there was such a person). Wilson Miles Cary, a prominent early 20th C. genealogist , concluded that Ann married John Pettus, Dabney's brother; however, Cary did not cite any sources for his information or explain how he came to his conclusion.
Nevertheless, a family bible record does indicate that Thomas Pettus of Lunenburg County, Virginia, who was born in 1712, was the son of "John Pettus and his wife Ann." Moreover, some of Thomas's children were given the middle name Overton and his presumed brother, John Pettus of Louisa County, named a daughter Ann Overton Pettus. Thus, the conjecture that John married Ann Overton is, at least, plausible.
Still, no evidence that I know of connects John Pettus, father of Thomas and presumably John) to "Capt." (actually, Mr.) Thomas Pettus, son of Col. Thomas Pettus. Furthermore, no evidence that I know of indicates that Ann was the daughter of Samuel Overton, who seems to have been of her generation. More likely, Ann was the daughter of William Overton, immigrant, but that conjecture has yet to be proved by any early record.
All of the above is explained more fully in my forthcoming book on Pettus history.
I am interested in knowing whether you or any other reader has documentary evidence that Evan Ragland's wife Susannah was the daughter of Stephen Pettus.