Jo, I would very much like to have more information about your Whitnels who were in Maury County, Tn..I just saw an online Whitnel biography from Caldwell County, Ky..Have you seen it?I'll send it to you if you like.
Here is why I am curious.A John Randolph lived in Maury County, about 1803?-1825.A neighbor and friend of his was President James Knox Polk's father (Samuel Polk.) That John Randolph had a son whom he named Whitnel Sephas Randolph.That is such an unusual first name that I believe it was taken from someone's surname.The biography said that Josiah Whitnel's father was born in Maury County, Tn. Perhaps he was John's neighbor also.
Have you heard any reference to a relationship between Polks and Whitnels?Did Whitnels come from Mecklinburg, N.C. before Tennessee as did the Polks?