I believe, after consulting with a couple of relatives, that he was the son of William Huling (Hulen, etc.) and his wife Sarah, and would be the youngest of their four sons shown in the 1810 census of Chesterfield Co. SC. Three of the sons (yet unborn) were missing at the time of the 1800 census, but the oldest (my gr-gr-grandfather Jonathan Hulan) was counted. William and family moved to Rowan Co. NC by 1820. Jonathan and his wife Eliza (Trexler) with several children moved from Rowan Co. NC to Davidson Co. TN in about 1845; one of their sons was also named Osborn (Ausborn, in one census).
They had lived in Franklin Co. NC as late as 1791, and at the same location for probably 40+ years before that, although it was not yet called Franklin Co. when they moved there. The militia colonel for this neighborhood in the 1750s was Osborne Jeffreys, and I believe the name (found in several families from that area) honors him.
Some of these Hulans, of William's generation or the one just before it, are referred to as black or mulatto in some (mostly colonial) records of both Carolinas. They are related by marriage or place of residence to several other families that were so classified, and later called Melungeons or otherwise identified as racially mixed. Research into this question is ongoing.
The Middle Tennessee Hulan family was never so identified; but we are clearly descended from some of the people who were, roughly 250 years ago. We also have Hulen relatives in North Carolina who were active in the abolitionist Wesleyan Methodist Church, and were Union sympathizers during the Civil War; several were summarily killed by Confederate irregulars toward the end of the war. It is feasible, but not proven, that their mixed ancestry had some influence on their politics with regard to slavery. Others have speculated that their dark complexion (where found) stemmed from Native American or Welsh genes.
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