For the benefit of future researchers here is a summary of the discussions Wayne Witt Bates and I have been having.
Mary E Witt was the eldest daughter of Noah Witt and his second wife Jane Smith who were married 21 Oct 1819 in Jefferson Co., TN. Mary E Witt was born 19 Sep 1820 (FamilySearch) or 3 Oct 1820 (on her gravestone) in Jefferson Co. She died after 1880 in presumably Hamblen Co., TN where she was living in 1880 and where her grave is located at the Economy United Methodist Church Cem. (no death date on the stone).
Mary E Witt had 5 children who survived long enough to appear in a census. All were born "outside the sacred bonds of marriage" as they say. The children did have their father in the household or nearby as will be seen in a future message. All the children seem to have used the surname Witt. Early Witt researcher Lucy Ball "conjures up" a Samuel Johnson as the father of the children but this is not correct.
Children of Mary E Witt (all born in Jefferson Co.):
1 - William Henry Witt (1840 - 28 Mar 1925). He served in the Civil War and moved to Sullivan Co., TN where he married Sarah Ann Lindamood 22 Sep 1869. They had no children.
2 - Hamilton Witt (ca 1843 - bef 1870). He also served in the Civil War as Pvt Co. "I" 39th Reg TN Mtd Inf (W. M. Bradford's) (31st Infantry) CSA. He probably died in the War unmarried as no TN CSA pension was filed on his behalf or by a widow. He couldn't be located in the 1870 or 1880 census.
3 - Mary E Witt (ca 1847 - ?). She was Mary E. Witt (age 3) in 1850. She was probably the daughter "D" or "P" Witt age 14 of the 1860 census. There are a lot of Mary E Witt marriage records in 1860-1870 Jefferson Co.! Going through all of them resulted in all of them being eliminated as another known person.
4 - A. Witt (ca 1851 - ). She is age 9 in the 1860 census. No possible marriage for her was located. She may have died young and unmarried.
5 - Orlena A Witt (ca 1854 - 7 Jul 1918 Knox Co., TN). She was called a daughter in the 1880 Hamblen Co. census by her mother. She married Simon Jones 4 Jul 1881 in Hamblen Co. Orlena is the key to discovering the father of the 5 children.