Several months or maybe even a year ago, the location of Tucker Methodist Church, now long gone, was discussed on the Cabarrus County Genealogy Society Facebook page. Some source unknown to me locates the church near the northern end of Edgefield Road. As it turns out, that’s true. However, in question of this tradition, I’ve wondered if Tucker Methodist Church might be located on the east side of Rocky River on what was a larger share of George Tucker Senior’s lands?

Many years ago during a visit to the Stanly County library I came across and copied a file of ca. 1808-1817 Yearly Planning reports for the Methodist church. Alongside other area churches was listed “Tuckers Church” with an accounting of its size in terms of membership and tithing. However, and as time and luck has their due, I’ve lost those important copies. Prodded by the online discussion about Tuckers Methodist Church, I made several return trips to the Stanly County library only to learn that the records were no longer there. As a matter of fact, papers of other sorts also seemed to have disappeared…strange!

I’ve recently learned that most of the important records held in the county library have been moved to the newly formed Stanly County History Center. And, on a recent visit the manager, Paul Morrison, helped me find what I was looking for.


At the top of the page is a map I found within a folder of photocopied Methodist records housed at the Stanly County History Center. I don’t think the map is super old and its origin is unclear. It may have been created in the 1960’s by those who donated the records I’m writing about. However, on the map, Tucker’s Church is identified (in yellow) on the western side of Rocky River where tradition has always placed it. And, it’s the same location where today sits the only remnant known as the Tucker Cemetery. It’s there where prominent settlers like Andrew Carriker and Thomas J. Shinn are buried.

Looking at the map above you’ll also see “Love’s” which by location must be present day Love’s Chapel UMC built on the lands once belonging to Jonah Love. This is important because it dates the map to a time after the 1848 founding of Love’s Chapel.

dsc_0832-copyOther records going further back mention “Tucker Methodist” by name. Also, listed is “Love’s Church” over 30 years before the founding of chapel. Before discussing records linked to these two churches, let’s take a look at the following 1820’s map that was used in a feasibility study seeking to convert the Rocky River into a canal. The goal was to increase revenue by diverting the flow of goods from west to east across the state rather than having them shipped out of state by way of the Pee Dee and Catawba rivers.

The map locates (James) “Love’s” near what we now know to be Reed Gold Mine. Also nearby would have been a church James Love founded known as Mount Moriah or Love’s Methodist Church. And, up the river and around the bend is Boger’s Mill. The old Tucker church was surely standing nearby on the south side of the river.


With locations now established, let’s look at some old church records

Of the two documents below, the first is the 1813 Yearly Plan for the Methodist churches within the Rocky River Circuit. You’ll see the names of churches in the circuit along with membership and tithing. Traywicks (now Fountain Hill) and Preslars are to the south of Rocky River and next is Love’s to the north. Beside Love’s is “Allen or Rogers” followed by Tuckers. It all falls into place though I’d like to know more about Allen’s church. Make sure to click on the images and then click on full size to see the documents up close:


The second document in the above is the 22 Feb 1817 minutes of a first quarterly meeting of the Rocky River Circuit. The meeting was attended by Daniel Asbury, presiding elder; Samuel Harrison, itinerant preacher; Henry Ledbetter, local elder; William Threadgill, L. D; George Shankle, L. D.; George Allen, class leader; George Tucker, class leader; Peter Randle, class leader; Benjamin Mabery, class leader; and Samuel Temple, steward. Who are these people?

Daniel Asbury, the presiding elder is prominent in North Carolina history. From NCpedia:

Daniel Asbury, pioneer Methodist preacher, was born in Fairfax County, Va., the son of Thomas and Pettie Jennings Asbury. At the age of sixteen he went to Kentucky, where he was captured by a band of Shawnee Indians while transporting provisions to a frontier army post. He was taken first to the West and then into Canada and finally became a prisoner of the British during the Revolutionary War. Upon release from a Detroit prison, he found his way back to his father’s home in Virginia. There he was converted, entered the traveling ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1786, and was appointed to serve the Amelia Circuit in Virginia.

…Some years after his marriage, Asbury temporarily left the traveling ministry, although he continued to serve as a local preacher. Then in 1803 he returned to the itinerant ranks, and in 1806 was appointed presiding elder of the Swanino (Swannanoa) district. He served a total of fourteen years as a presiding elder. In 1808 he was elected one of eleven representatives of the South Carolina Conference (which included the western half of North Carolina) to the first delegated General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Although Daniel Asbury was not related to Bishop Francis Asbury, they were close friends and collaborators, and the bishop visited Daniel’s home on numerous occasions.

And, as for the itinerant preacher Samuel Harrison, he too led an admirable life. From the History of Methodism in Kentucky:

Samuel Harrison …was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, October the 8th, 1782. His father emigrated from Virginia to Mecklenburg, North Carolina, when his son was only a youth. In 1803, he professed religion and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Before he entered the ministry he married; and believing that God had called him to the sacred office, he laid his family upon the altars of the Church, and became an itinerant.

In 1807, on the 26th of September, he was licensed to preach, and on the 28th of December following was admitted on trial in the South Carolina Conference. After traveling the Rocky River, Montgomery, and Union Circuits, he located. In 1815, he reentered the itinerant field in the same Conference, and remained an active and zealous member until the session of 1818, when he again located. He soon afterward removed to Kentucky, and settled in Mercer County, where for several years he preached as a local preacher.

Among the listing of class leaders is George Tucker. Who is he? It appears that class leaders represented their churches at quarterly circuit meetings. From online: “The class leader was a layman who was a mature disciple of Jesus Christ and whom the leaders of the Methodist society believed could be trusted with guiding others in the pursuit of holiness of heart and life.”

George Tucker, the patriarch in Cabarrus, lived and died along the east side of Rocky River just upstream from Grandsire Jimmy, the Love family patriarch. George Tucker had a son of same name who moved into now southern Stanly County where he too lived along the Rocky River. This George Tucker II is buried in a family cemetery on church grounds predating Kinza Memorial Baptist Church. And lastly, there is George Tucker III who married Esther Carriker who tradition says was the second and much younger wife of Grandsire Jimmy Love.

I don’t believe it! There was yet another James Love who married Mary Tucker and who after serving in the War of 1812 died ca. 1820. Knowing throuh DNA that Grandsire Jimmy Love had a son James who moved to Georgia, I believe that person had also entered land grants near George Tucker II in now southern Stanly County. It’s my belief that James Love who married Mary Tucker is the son of James Junior of Georgia, the son of Grandsire Jimmy. This is where the name James Allison Love comes into the family. I believe Mary Tucker was somehow related to George III and following the death of her husband James A. Love, Mary Tucker Love married second to David Brooks. At that time records show her children Nica, Darling, Pleasant, and Hartwell Spain Love were taken in by their Aunt Esther and Uncle George Tucker III until they came of age and removed to Arkansas in the 1830’s.

So, the question remains, just who was the person named in the 1817 Methodist circuit meeting minutes? George Tucker I was dead and George II was working land miles away in now southern Stanly County. So, it’s my belief that George Tucker III was called to the Methodist church where he and his wife Esther served during their lifetime. But …did George Tucker serve at Tucker Methodist Church or did he serve at Love’s? Could he have served both? To the last question the answer is yes and to the first, …I don’t know! However, George Tucker III and his wife Esther lay at rest at the Love’s or Mt. Moriah burial ground located near the river below the lands of John Reed and Grandsire Jimmy. Theirs are but two of the few proper and legible stones in the cemetery. And as stated earlier, George Tucker, the patriarch, had owned land upstream from the cemetery.

There’s little more to say but please realize that faith is somehow behind the naming of Tucker Methodist Church. Somehow that story was important to the family as none of this would have happened without them.

In closing I’d like to share a little more information about the records you’ve been looking at. Also, the tract of land surrounding or next to Tucker’s Cemetery adjoins Rocky near two mill dams about which an important 1800 petition arose in an effort to protect the fishery habitat. Let’s look first at the records.


The Stanly County History Center houses a broken photocopy series of early Methodist circuit minutes. They have all of the existing records pertaining to Stanly County though there is more pertaining to old Anson County. The collection originated in William Hatcher of early Hopewell Methodist in Anson County. William Hatcher passed the documents through his family to his great-granddaughter Viola Kiker. In April 1965 the minutes were taken to Duke Manuscript Library for permanent storage. It is there, at the David Rubenstein Manuscripts and Rare Books Library where I had the opportunity to see and photograph the originals used in this post.

The following two articles provide greater detail illuminating implications of this collection. Provided to me by Kelly Wooten, one of the staff at the Duke Manuscripts library, a link below the articles will redirect you to cloud based storage of digital images of the collection. Take advantage; the link may go down at some point so please download the records now if any of this is of interest.


Digital images of all the Methodist circuit minutes donated in 1965 by Ms. Viola Kiker: https://duke.box.com/s/c41pcw8z42pk8buf92khapeo8q0ngz3y

The plat map below shows two grants of land with one of which taking in the Tucker Methodist Church site. Accuracy in platting is pretty good though it would be easy to be off enough to change this story. Ultimately I think both tracts passed through the hands of John Melcher, Daniel Boger and then John H. Bost on whose land Bost’s historic mill was built. It’s not directly related to Tucker Church though I can imagine standing there in the early 1800’s, seeing the view and taking in the neighborly dynamics.

tuckercem(Red Tract) Grant # 3681, Mecklenburg NC, ent. 27 Jan 1786, sur 28 Apr 1787, iss26 Nov 1789. Issued to William Ross, being a large 622-acre tract, from the most southerly point and running the bounds northerly on the east side, the land adjoins George Tucker to the east, David Cagle to the northeast, John Hartsell to the north of the main body, and Douglass Winchester as the line approaches the south bank of Rocky River. Chainbearers: Henry Price, Joseph Howell.

Deed 2-38, Cabarrus NC, 19 Apr 1793. Daniel Bean to William Ross, Junior, both of Cabarrus. Being 662 acres, this was one of four tracts deeded in this conveyance. Wit: David McKinley, William Ross.

Deed 8-219, Cabarrus NC, 1 Nov 1793, rec. Jul 1813. William Ross, Junior to Daniel Boger. This tract again conveyed as one of four, being the same lands as in 2-38 above. Wit: Joseph Shinn, Tobias Klots jurat.

1800 – Petition of citizens to the General Assembly concerning John Melcher’s mill in hopes of granting “him to have his gates constantly shut, as he has removed his damm lower down in the river, and we can never derive any benifit from the fishery, very few [fishes]coming up that distance, and those few can go but about 6 miles higher up the river.

Deed 10-126, Cabarrus NC, 7 Jan 1801. John Melcher to Tobias Klutts, being 869 acres made up of four tracts “Whereon is built a grist and saw mill …as appears by a written instrument of agreement or conveyance from Daniel Boger to the said John Melcher bearing the date 1 Nov 1793. Wit: Daniel Little, Jno. Still.

Deed 12-88, Cabarrus NC, 15 Apr 1833, rec. Jul 1833. Martin Boger of Cabarrus and Peter and Elizabeth Pless in Montgomery County to John H. Bost. An undefined acreage being the lands whereof Daniel Boger died, seized, and possessed on the waters of Rocky River joining the lands of John Biggers heirs, Solomon Karraker, Joseph Howell and others; being the undivided interest of Martin Boger and Elizabeth Pless in the said lands which came to them by the death of their father John Boger. Wit: Jacob Williams, Robert A. Means.

Deed 12-154, Cabarrus NC, 27 Dec 1833, rec. Jan 1834. Tobias Klutts to John H. Bost, being “all of that one half of that tract” on both sides of Rocky River containing 100 acres “together with on half of everything thereunto belonging. Wit” Jacob Williams, Samson Bost.

(Yellow Tract) Grant # 3441, Mecklenburg NC, ent. 22 Oct 1779, sur. 8 Apr 1783, iss. 2 Nov 1784. Issued to DOUGLAS WINCHESTER, being 94 acres located on both sides of Rocky River including his own improvement. From a w. o. north 15 east chs. to b. o., north 38 east 12 chs. to pine, north 9 east 15 chs. (crossing the river along John Finny entry) to b. o., south 67 east 17 chs. (along John Ashly entry) to hic., south 10 chs. (crossing the wagon road and said river) to b. o., south 50 east 7 to w. o. (by James Fleman line), south 67 west 19 chs. ti stake, south 23 east 20 chs. to stake, (crossing the road) to begin. CC: Daniel Winchester, Charls Dorton.

Deed 1-66, Cabarrus NC, Douglas Winchester and wife Elizabeth to George Christman. This deed also includes a tract purchased by Winchester from John Ashley. Jurat: John Hagler.

Deed 4-72, Cabarrus NC, 3 Jun 1799, prv’d Jul 1801, George Christman to Elias Bost. Being the fifty acre portion of this tract lying on the north side of Rocky River. Wit: (in German), Michael Christman.


duke chapelThis week I’ve made several trips to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscripts Library housed at Duke University. My intentions have been to locate original documentation of the early Methodist church and its existence along the Rocky River in Anson, Stanly, Union, and Cabarrus Counties in North Carolina. Two times boxes of records have been requested after which the following day I made the trip to Durham with fingers crossed. Both times I came up empty handed with one more box coming in from storage hopefully tomorrow or Monday. Oh, the anticipation!

I’ve learned that Methodists were not efficiently organized in terms of their reporting to the central body of the church. The Methodist church was born in the American experience. Though they were crib mates to many in the founding of our country, their approach to record keeping was much different than their German brethren. Constantly changing as did the state, so did the look of the Methodist conference and its circuits. So, a note to the researcher …be warned that the church reshaped itself in ways that makes no sense to us today. For instance, there are Methodist churches in present day Union County that once belonged to circuits located in Lincoln County within the South Carolina Conference.

Surviving church minutes are filled with mundane operational business with little genealogical information on specific churches and their congregations. It’s really boring stuff. However, and as was used for annual reporting, a few surviving but broken books and folders of papers provide membership rolls during specific years. I’ve not plowed through the various circuits within our state but hope sometime to abstract such roll books for the churches along Rocky River.

And, I can’t move on before writing something about the Methodist records housed at Duke University. You’d hope that the Church itself, the mother of the organization, would have held or recorded all those lists and records documenting the life of each congregation. It did not happen that way. In your visit to the manuscript library realize that much of what’s there came through donations. Maybe a grandfather or other ancestor represented a church and in that responsibility came upon records that somehow fell into his hands. Whether given in such way by individuals or given though the wisdom of individual churches, such records came to Duke piecemeal reflecting very little in terms of an overarching organization. It’s a big deal in understanding the collection to which even the helpful librarians concede to be a huge hurdle.

With that said and out of the way, I was surprised today to find several pieces of paper documenting “Baptisms” in the early 1880’s. Though not labeled, several of the pages, I’m sure, represent the congregation of Bethel UMC in Midland NC. There is another for Mill Creek. Later I’ll share roll books adding in Zion UMC in Union County. Enjoy for now!





Oh it’s my wish that once things are found they would remain found and be forever true. And, I wish that I could simply accept as gospel what others have researched. But I can’t …I’m a doubting Thomas. I can’t even trust my own self for I’m always finding records contradicting what I once accepted as true.

These findings really are a pain! How do I go about updating and getting the word out when I’ve cast such a wide net? How do I get the word to everyone? I don’t want to spend my time doing that when the fun is in hunting down new leads! But yet I’ve wronged many in the process of trying my best to get it right! Oh, the agony, the pain!!


Today I was going back through past records cross checking them against the familysearch online services. It’s smart and the right thing to do. Within minutes of searching the 1820 census for “James Love” I found something shattering. I haven’t had time to digest this and am not even sure I’ve got it right in my mind. But anyhow, take a look at the following and see if you see what I see:


If not, and if you need a little help, let me give it a try. You see, around 1800, the son of old Grandsire Jimmy Love of Cabarrus removed west to Rutherford County in an area that later became Cleveland County. You can see Charles Love in the above census record. Also seen above, Charles had a son John who later moved to Georgia. And listed below John is Charles’ son James Love who later gave the land for the county seat of what later became Cleveland County NC. This younger James Love’s portrait hangs in watch over Cleveland County board meetings.

Look above Charles Love and you’ll see a passel of Brooks family. You’ll see William who must be the patriarch. There’s also Constant and then Isaac. Are they the same clan as are found in present day Stanly County? Did they move west along with Charles Love and others from the area?

It’s in the name of Isaac Brooks where the earth shakes. You see, and according to the family beliefs of this Cleveland County family, their old William Brooks came from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Okay, so maybe he’s from a different set …easy peasy and we’ll just leave it alone. But, on the following find-a-grave site, take a close look at William’s son Isaac: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/33607919/william-brooks

His name is Isaac Crayton Brooks …for real!!!??? Note that our Grandsire Jimmy had son Jonah Love who remained in the area of Cabarrus/Stanly County NC. His neighbor to the north was Isaac Crayton and it was William Crayton who was a son-in-law and in partnership at John Reed’s goldmine. William Crayton’s son Isaac sunk the first shaft at the mine in 1833.  Is what I’m thinking possible and what does this tell us?

Beyond the obvious fault line now at the foot of our family tree, there’s the James Love who appears in Campbell County GA along with others who were once living in Cabarrus. That James Love’s DNA matches descendants of old Grandsire Jimmy. We’re pretty sure that James Love who died and left a will in Georgia is the son of old Grandsire being the same James Love Junior who signed a petition to build public buildings in the newly formed Cabarrus County.

Looking at the last will and testament in Campbell County Georgia, who is Mary Brooks? Out of what tree did this Brooks family in Georgia spring?

State of Georgia}
Campbell County}
Georgia, Campbell Co.: In the Name of God Amen. I James Love of the County and State afor Said being of Sound Mind and Memory but Knowing that it is My Last Will Testament in Manner and Form following to Wit
1st I give and bequeath My Sole to god
2nd is My Request to be buried deasent in a decient And Christian like manner
3rd as tuching My Worldly effects I give and bequeath To My beloved Son Ingraham Love one dollar
4th I give and bequeath to My beloved son John Love one dollar
5th I give and bequeath to My beloved son James Love one dollar
6th I give and bequeath to My beloved daughter Mary Brooks one dollar
7th I give and bequeath to My the illegitimate heirs of My beloved daughter Elizabeth McUne One dollar
8th I give And bequeath to My beloved Wife Elizabeth Love And My two Youngest Sons to wit Josiah Love and Joseph Crafford Love the Balance of all I Posess together with all My Interest in the — ————–??? Stated land Lotery of gold Minds (sic) To be Equally divided among them one third to My wife Elizabeth Love and one third to My Son Josiah Perre Love and one third to My Son Joseph Crafford Love
9th I do hereby appoint Stephen James My Executor to execute? and carry out this My last Will And testament into effect in Testimony Whereof I have here unto Set My hand Seal this 26th day of May 1832 in the presence of (the words the legitimate (sic) heirs of was interlined before (Note: name illegible, scratched through) As Wisshed (?) in the 19th line of the 1st page)
s. James (his mark) Love.

Wit. Robert (his mark) Presley,
John Gilbert, JP
Wade Wright, JP

The above surely opens up new possibilities that need to be exercised. I think the earth will shake changing the landscape as we know it. Do the Brooks Family of Cleveland County go easily back to Lancaster County PA as they believe or are they somehow tied into the family of same name along the Rocky River? Oh what a change this may bring about and oh what a painfully good time we’ll have figuring it out. Whether being Crayton, Love or Brooks, I’d love to hear your thoughts on where to place this piece of the puzzle.


cencus 1850 david t

1850 Union County Cenus

According to the above census, in 1850 my Great-Great grandparents David Thomas and wife Ala (Alice) Newsome were raising a large family in Union County NC. Their son, my namesake Great Grandfather George W. Thomas does not appear in the census as he was born more than a year later on 9 Feb 1852. George’s mother Alice may have died during childbirth or shortly thereafter as she does not appear in the 1854 estate probate records for David Thomas. There’s no proof as to where David and Alice are buried though I firmly believe they lie at rest in the Edmond L. Davis Cemetery which is located on or adjoining what was once the lands of David and Alice Thomas.

You can find lots on this family at my website geothos.com. However, the site includes very little in terms of images or other flavorful information. In this post I’ll revisit the children of David and Alice Thomas mainly with the goal of giving you the chance to study our family traits made visible through old photographs. Let’s start with oldest son James Robert Thomas, working our way down to baby George Washington Thomas.

James Robert Thomas

james r thomas

James Robert Thomas Family

James Robert Thomas was born in Jun 1832 and married Mary Jane Curlee on 25 June 1853. Mary Jane is the daughter of Thomas Griffin Curlee and Jane Catherine Lotharp. When James’ father died in 1854, the Reverend Edmond L. Davis and James Thomas were listed as Administrators. And, in the 1855 July term in Union County, James R. Thomas was appointed guardian of his younger brother Edmond. James Austin and the Rev. Edmond L. Davis paid guardian bond.

A farmer from Union County, James R. Thomas enlisted on 21 Aug 1862 at Statesville NC. He served in CSA Co. F, 48th Regiment through October 1864. Returning from the war, James farmed and raised a family on what is now Ansonville Road near Hamilton’s Crossroads.

James Thomas is seen sitting in the front left of the above photograph. James’ son Cornelius is sitting to his right with toddler in his lap. Beside Cornelius is wife Sophronia Alice Pierce (daughter of John Jackson Pierce and Eliza Bass). I’m not sure of the other folks in this photo but here are the names and the spouses of Cornelius and Sophronia Thomas’ children: Mary Jane Thomas (John M. Williams), Nora Alice Thomas (Connie Brewer), Zilphia Ellen Thomas (Kindley Cleveland Moore), Marion Frank Thomas (Wilma Little), Melton Ellis Thomas (Lillie Helms, Letha James), Edger Green Thomas (Mary Lee Gaddy), Joseph Hurley Thomas (Bessie Griffin), Cornelius Wesley Thomas (Ora Griffin), Effie Lou Thomas (Preston Perry), Annie Kate Thomas (Henry Clayton Baucom), Graham Mott Thomas (Edna Taylor). (note: I’d love to be able to identify the others in this photograph not named

The children of James and Mary Curlee Thomas are: Cornelius Whitfield Thomas (Sophronia Alice Pierce), Milton Stanhope Thomas (Louisa Link), Clement M. Thomas,  Mary E. Thomas (Marshall E. Harwood), Bedie Thomas, and John H. Thomas (Julia Lulu Moore).

Sarah Ann Thomas

Solomon Rasberry Brewer

Solomon Rasberry  and Sarah Ann Thomas Brewer Family

Sarah Ann Thomas was born 26 Apr 1833 and she married Solomon Raspberry Brewer. Ms. Annie Lee Traywick gave me the above picture and I remember her not being 100 5 sure though she believed the image is that of Solomon Raspberry Brewer, his wife Sarah, and their daughters. Solomon is the son of Kizzie Brewer and there’s a story in that fact that I wish I could remember.

Solomon Brewer enlisted in the CSA Senior Reserves though he was beyond fighting age. Solomon and Sarah owned a farm along the branch at the end of what is now Dusty Road in Union County. Their children are (A) John W. Brewer (Mary Elizabeth Griffin), George Washington Brewer (Margaret Cornelia Parker), Jackson L. Brewer (Lucindy Moore), Mary Elizabeth (Timothy C. Braswell), Martha Jane Brewer (Pinkney Honeycutt), James Rasberry Brewer (Frances Dry), Allie Martelia Brewer ( William A. Polk), Kizzie Lougenia Brewer (Ellison Lee Parker), and Sarah Catherine Brewer (Charlie Morgan).
Solomon and Sarah Thomas Brewer are laid to rest in the old graveyard at the front corner of the Mount Moriah UMC campus at New Salem. brewer

John Milton Thomas

john m thomas

John Milton Thomas

I love the way information flows. While overseeing the woodshop at that NC State Crafts Center, discussion with one of my students led to the realization that we were cousins. Cool! It turns out his family descends from John Milton Thomas and the photographs here were given to me by his grandmother Dowdy.

John Milton Thomas was born 5 Aug 1834 and he married Ms. Sarah Elizabeth Redfern on 6 Dec 1860. Sarah is the daughter of William Albert and Elvia A. Hubbard Redfern.
Before the Civil War, census records show that John M. Thomas was engaged in business with T. D.Winchester and D. Hayden. On 16 Feb 1862, John enlisted in CSA Co. T, 48th Regiment. Captured at Sharpesburg, VA, he was released and later wounded at Fredricksburg. Promoted to rank of Sargent, John was wounded again at Bristoe Station, VA and later captured in Salisbury, NC. Military records show he was sent to Nashville, Louisville, and finally to Camp Chase, Ohio before being released on 4 May 1865.

Returning to Union County, John Milton Thomas continued in business as a Grocer and became postmaster at Monroe. Dated 20 Apr 1917, an obituary appeared on the front page of The Monroe Journal. Amidst articles pertaining to the advances of WWI, John M. Thomas was eulogized as “probably the last of the before the war Monroe merchants, postmaster here during Cleveland’s Administration, ex-Confederate soldier, and well known citizen”. Here’s the obituary:

MONROE, N. C., FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 1917.

A Before the War Merchant, Soldier, and Postmaster During Cleveland’s
First Administration, Passed Away Wednesday Afternoon.

Mr. John M. Thomas, probably the last of the before the war Monroe merchants, postmaster here during Cleveland’s first administration ex-Confederate soldier, and well-known citizen, died Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. H. B. Billingsby, after a lingering illness of several months. Old age was the cause of his death; he had not been able to leave his room but once since last Thanksgiving.

The passing of Mr. Thomas removes a landmark from this community. Actively engaged in business before the war with the late T. D. Winchester and D. F. Hyden, he had been an important cog in the social and business activities of the town up until about twenty years ago, when he moved to Lilesville. He was appointed postmaster by President Grover Cleveland during his first administration and he served the patrons of his office well and painstakingly.

When Jefferson Davis called for volunteers in ’61, Mr. Thomas was one of the first to respond. And his devotion to the cause of the Confederacy never wavered for a moment. He fought valiantly through the war until sometime in ’64, towards its close, he was made a prisoner by the Federal forces. He was carried to Pennsylvania, where he was imprisoned until long after the war had closed. He reached home sometime towards the close of the year 1865.

Penniless when he reached home, he started rehabilitating his condition, incidentally contributing his share towards the rebuilding of the South during the days of reconstruction. He took a leading part in the business activities of those days, and all remember him as being honest, kind, and one who was willing to serve.
Mr. Thomas joined the Baptist church in his youth, and was a consistent and faithful member of the church here until he moved to Lilesville, where he carried his membership. Too much could not be said about Mr. Thomas’ conscientious and upright life. He was a good man: all who knew him readily vouch for that.

The deceased was a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. David Thomas, and was born in this county on August5, 1834. He was therefore nearly 83 years of age. In 1860 he married Miss Elizabeth Redfern, daughter of the later Albert Redfern, and she with the following daughters survive: Mrs. H. B. Billingsby, Monroe; Mrs. H. C. Boylin, Hamlet; Mrs. J. T. Sanders, Lilesville; and Mrs. Ellerbee Buchannan, Chicago. To this union were also born two sons, but they are both dead.

For the past three years Mr. Thomas had been making his home with Mr. and Mrs. Billingsby. While here he renewed his old acquaintances, after an absence of nearly twenty years; but they all found him to be the same upright man of the former days.
The funeral was held yesterday afternoon at four o’clock by Rev. J. E. Abernathy. Interment was in the Monroe Cemetery.


The children of John Milton and Sarah E. Redfern Thomas are Mary Alice Thomas, (Hezekiah Boles Billingsley), Louise Frances Thomas (Henry Clarence Boylin), David Franklin Thomas (Augusta Osborne), Fitzgerald Thomas (Joseph Tillman Saunders), Martha Thomas, Ella Thomas (Isadore Franklin Buckhants), Inez Thomas, and John Fredrick Thomas (Frances Clair Steinback).

William Green Thomas

william green thomas.jpgBorn 5 Feb 1836, William Green Thomas married on 15 Sep 1858 Lydia Adeline Dry. Her parents are Charles and Adeline Dry of Union/Stanly County. On 21 Aug 1862, William G. Thomas enlisted in CSA Co. F, 48th Reg. NC. Listed as a resident of Union County, he volunteered in Iredell County on the same day as his older brother James R. Thomas. William G. Thomas was listed as 35 years old at the time of enlistment. Wounded and captured at Hatcher’s Run on 9 Feb 1865, William was confined at Point Lookout, MD until being released on 20 Jun 1865. Following the war, William received a land grant on 15 Apr 1876 for 25 acres on Suscoes’s Branch in Union County. The land adjoined his own as well as that of Drury Morgan, Milton Austin, and C. B. Curlee. Chainbearers were Thomas Swink and James M. Williams. The land was very close to that of his father-in-law.

At some point William and wife Lydia moved just over the Union County line to the Arlington section of Mecklenburg County. In 1901, W.G. Thomas applied for a Soldier’s Pension and received ½ Disability. William Green Thomas and wife Lydia Adeline Dry are buried at Arlington Baptist Church.

The children of William and Lydia Dry Thomas are Ann Thomas (George Braswell), Sarah Ellen Thomas (Thomas Swink), William Daniel Thomas (Sarah Ann Austin), Saphronia Alice Thomas (Eli F. Cagle), Lydia Almetta (Mimmow) Thomas (James Austin), John W. Thomas (Mary J. Ward, Annie Heafner), Julia C. Thomas, (Monroe Groves, Edmond G. Thomas (Margaret Addie Rea, James A. Thomas (Lula Lee of Paw Tucket), Charlie Benton Thomas (Jennie Belle Clontz, Mrs. Cornelia (Griffin) Whitley),and Jane Thomas (Tommy Harrington).

I’ve run across only one surviving photo representing this family. The above is that of younger son Charles Benton Thomas. Below are the graves of William and Lydia A. Thomas.

Elizabeth Thomas

elijah m griffinElizabeth Thomas was born ca. 1837 and married Elijah Griffin in the 1850’s. Theirs was a short marriage as Elizabeth died prior to the 1859 estate papers for her recently deceased husband. From the sizeable amount of paper in the estate records we know that Elijah and Elizabeth had but one son named David W. Griffin. David Griffin is enumerated in 1860 Union County as being aged 3, at that time living in the home of his Aunt Jane and Uncle Sylvester Williams. Sylvester Williams went to war and never returned home. The estate of Elijah Griffin was held open through the 1870’s when David W. Griffin’s Uncle John M. Thomas was listed as Guardian.

David W. Griffin married 15 Dec 1881 Martha Ellen Dry, the daughter of Charles Albert Dry and Lydia Adeline Brooks. The marriage License listed both of David’s parents as deceased. As also proven in the estate records of Sarah E. Thomas, who was Elizabeth’s grandmother, David W. Griffin was listed as the sole heir of Elizabeth Griffin, dec’d. David W. Griffin and Martha Ellen Dry lived out their lives in Stanly County and are buried at Philadelphia Baptist Church.

Hampton H. Thomas


Entry from the Joseph Newsome family bible

Born in 1839, Hampton Thomas lived with Guardian Edmond L. Davis following his father’s death in 1854. . When Hampton came of legal age, Edmond Davis made a court documented return to the “Estate of Hampton Thomas & Others.” Since he was the oldest child appointed to E.L. Davis, the estate return was listed under Hampton’s name. E. L. Davis disclosed returns to David M., George, Puah, and Winney A. Thomas. Each child received $237.50.

In the 1860 Union County Census H. H. Thomas is listed twice. He is 21 years old and a mechanic living at the house of John Warwick, a shoemaker and emigrant from Pennsylvania. H. H. Thomas is also listed as a mechanic living at the house of James Richard. James is an Innkeeper, born in Cromwell Co., England. Dated 17 Aug 1860, Hampton purchased a one-acre lot near Monroe from J. D. Stewart.

Hampton H. Thomas enlisted and served as Sergeant in CSA Co. B, 26 Reg. NC. On 3 Jul 1863, he was captured after being wounded at the battle of Gettysburg. Following the amputation of his right leg, Hampton was transferred to David’s Island, N.Y., to Fort Wood at Bledsoe’s Island, and then on Christmas Eve of 1863, to the Point Lookout Prison in Maryland. Exchanged at City Point, Va., he stayed there until 1865. It is believed that Hampton returned home, where he shortly died from sickness. In the Joseph Newsome Family Bible, “Hampton Thomas- Deceased the 13th February 1866, the disease which taken him into Grate eternity was—?— while forced in the rebealion.”

Jane Ellen Thomas

Jacob Thomas was appointed guardian of Jane Ellen Thomas in Jul 1855 following the death of her father David Thomas. In April 1858, Jacob Thomas made a court recorded return in the amount of $140.00. And, on 11 Jul 1858 Jane E. Thomas married Sylvester Williams. Sylveter enlisted in CSA Co. G, 48th Reg, NC. On 9 Jun 1863 Sylvester died of disease at Goldsboro, NC.

The children of Jane E. and Sylvester Williams are John M. Williams (likely died young), Sarah E. Williams (William E. Helms), and Lethe Williams (likely died young).

Puah Ellen Thomas

puah e

Puah Ellen Thomas Brooks

Though born 7 Jun 1844 in a family whose patriotism was fervently defined by the Confederate Cause, Puah’s name is surely a throwback to the abolitionist Quaker traditions in the Newsome side of her family. You see, in the bible, Puah was one of the Jewish midwives who looked after the baby boys during Passover. The Quakers seized on this in communicating shame to southern ladies in that they too have a responsibility and will someday be held accountable for how they treat others …those enslaved. The message went something like this …even the Jewish midwives treated slaves with dignity, how about you?

Puah married on 6 Nov 1865 Joshua Brooks. The house where they lived on Buster Road in Stanly County was demolished following hurricane Fran. It is said Puah and Joshua created one of the first libraries in the area.


The Joshua and Puah Ellen Brooks family


Joshua Brooks Homeplace on Buster Road

Joshua and Puah Ellen Thomas Brooks are buried at Philadelphia Baptist in Stanly County. Their children are: Menora Brooks (Adam Morgan), Ida Brooks(Robert Hill), Lessie Brooks (Killis Almond), Martha Colon Brooks (Luther Efird), Carrie Brooks (Martin James), Maude Brooks (Adam Hill), John Brooks (Arrie Greene), Willie Brooks (unmarried), and Edmond Wyatt Brooks (Flora Alice Green).

Winney A. Thomas

Born ca. 1845, we know that Winney died in 1860. After her father’s death, Winney’s uncle Ananias Jr. was appointed guardian. And at some point prior to the 1858 death of Annanias, Jr., the reverend Edmond Davis was appointed her guardian.
The death of Winney A. Thomas is listed in the 1860 Union County Mortality Census. At 15 years of age and a spinster, she died of Typhoid fever after being sick for 22 days. Winney is likely buried at the Edmond Davis Cemetery near her parents.

Edward Wilson Thomas

edmond thomas

Edward Wilson Thomas and son John Wilson Thomas

Edward Thomas was born 10 Jan 1847 and his older brother James R. Thomas was appointed guardian following their father’s death. At some point his Uncle William Newsom was appointed guardian as in the 1860 Union County Census, Edmond W. Thomas was listed as 14 years old and living at the house of William Newsom. Dated 10 Aug 1869, in the loose estate records of William Newsome, the widow of William Newsom deceased made a $544 dollar return to E. W. Thomas.

Edward Wilson Thomas married first on 31 Dec 1867 Susan Caroline Phillips the daughter of Enoch and Mary Phillips. Susan is buried at the old Phillips Burial Ground and note that Wingate College was built on or near by to the old Rev. Enoch Phillips home place. The children of Edward and Susan Phillips Thomas are Conley Thomas (Mittie), Joe E. Thomas (Emma Ross), Genolia Ann Thomas (Dr. George Benton Nance), Mary Elizabeth Thomas (George W. Simpson), Essie Thomas (Carl Bailey), and John Wilson Thomas (Lillian Maude Hasty). Edward W. Thomas married second Lillie A. Traywick, the daughter of Dr. B. S. and M.H. Traywick. Edward and Lillie are buried at the Weddington UMC. Their children are Walter Bryant Thomas (Josie Ella Hemby), Eloise W. Thomas (E. C. Stephenson), and David E. Thomas (unmarried).

Edward Wilson Thomas and wife Lillie Traywick lived in present day Weddington where their home has been added on and converted to make the town hall. Known now as the Thomas-Wrenn House, the photo above is of Edward W. Thomas and his son John Wilson Thomas. In a photo of the house from the town’s homepage, look closely at the porch and you’ll be able to imagine Edward Wilson Thomas and son from years ago.


Thomas-Wrenn House, Weddington NC

David M. Thomas

Born in 1848, David Thomas married on 15 Jan 1871 Mary Margaret Austin, the daughter of Bryant Deberry (B.D.) Austin and wife Elizabeth Hamilton. When B. D. Austin died in 1885, David and wife Mary were listed in the estate records. Dated 22 Jan 1889, in the petition for final settlement, the listing of heirs records—— –– “Mary Margaret Thomas…who is now a widow”.

Little else is known of the life of David Thomas. The children of David and Mary Margaret Thomas are: Edward W. Thoma (Ida), Mary Thomas, David Milton Thomas (Minnie A. Simpson), Lillie E. Thomas (Coram S. Lawrence), Lexy Thomas (Lucy Leola Perry), and Bertha Thomas (John Clanton). Following the ca. 1889 death of David, his widow Mary Margaret married Julian Baker.

George Washington Thomas

Born 9 Feb 1852, we know from records that George’s mother Alice died less five months after giving birth. And, following the death of George’s father in 1854,the reverend E. L. Davis was appointed guardian. My great grandfather George lived in several households until moving to Stanly County where he lived in the home of John Brooks. There, on the waters of Island Creek, George married Julia Ann Pless, the daughter of Solomon and Caroline Furr Pless. George and Julia continued to operate a store, the Solomon Pless saw mill and a wood fired brick kiln on a hill above Island Creek.

George died in 1922 from influenza and Julia died not too many years after. Julia’s folks are buried at Flat Rock Lutheran cemetery and George and Julia are at rest in the lower cemetery at Love’s Chapel UMC. The above pictures are of George and Julia Pless Thomas The photos below are of young Sylvester Thomas courting with the home of George W. Thomas in the background. It’s likely the old homeplace of Solomon Pless. Also shown are the sons of George W. Thomas working to make bricks.

The children of George and Julia Pless Thomas are: John E. Thomas (died when his gun misfired in a hunting accident), Jane Alice Thomas (Henry J. Yow), David Luther Thomas (Emma Jane Morgan), Minnie Thomas (Reverend Tildon Sasser), Henry Washington Thomas (Ara Bell Huneycutt, Elsie Wilma Dry), Ellen Thomas (Albert Grady), George Sylvester Thomas (Lessie Sasser), and Daniel Arthur Thomas (Eva Lucinda Burris).


Work at the brick kiln on George Washington Thomas’s farm


Sylvester courting in front of George Washington Thomas’ home



stanly hall image

Stanly Hall, Locust Level NC



stanly hall-1

Mooreville Enterprise, 15 Sep 1927

Often I stumble across new finds only to quickly realize there are many who are already aware. It’s tough to get excited when the response to such finds is “oh sure, such and such wrote about that,” or, “take a look …there’s a link about that on the town’s front page!” Today I happened across an old newspaper article making me aware of what many others already know. This may be nothing new, but the article does add context to a story worth retelling.


In March of 1879 Miss Frances Ellingwood Ufford faithfully left New York in support of the Presbyterian Home Mission. She moved to Concord NC where nearby Log Cabin School on Rocky River Ridge became the setting for her vision of a better way of education. On that site sprang White School which later became Jackson Training School.



As mentioned in the article above, Miss Ufford sensed and acted on the need for a proper school in western Stanly County.  Named Stanly Hall, the school is located next to Beulah Presbyterian Church on the 1904-10 C. M Miller map of Stanly County. Take a look:

And from a pamphlet remembering Miss. Ufford’s works can be found the above images of her schools including the majestic Stanly Hall which once broke the skyline along present day Hwy 24-27.

I ask that as you drive Hwy 49 curious as to the remnants of Jackson Training School, take time to imagine the old log cabin school along with the later White School. And for those passing through Locust, take time to imagine Stanly Hall. How did its construction change the demographics along the old Charlotte Hwy? From the article we learn that the school fell to fire but that its memory was once honored in the form of a class reunion.

The story was always there but I had no clue. There are many articles on this subject; take time to do a google search. Did you know there was even an act of our state legislature commanding that no alcohol be made in the proximity of Stanly Hall?


Oakboro, NC, 1:24,000 quad, 1971, USGSDated 23 Nov 1801 and as identified in the above plat, William Gurley received a Secretary of State land grant (5643 Anson NC for 200 acres situated on Bear Branch. The survey identified the land as lying between Shipman Branch and Bear Branch which are also identifed in the above plat. Chainbearers for the survey were Leonard Musselwhite and Willis Gurley.

I love it when old grants and deeds can be located on present day maps. Take a look at the following Google image and see if you can locate William Gurley’s 1801 grant:

morris gurley google

After receiving this grant it’s not long before William Gurley dies as his last will and testament was recorded in Oct 1804 (See bottom of page for the last will and testament). William Gurley’s widow Millinder and their older girls Elizabeth (Austin), Sarah (Lauhorn), Jean (Pool), and Charlotty Austin are clearly defined in the will. At the end of the will you’ll see mention of two other girls named Darcass and Ferrabee. Younger and at that time unmarried, the two received slaves and household items needed to start a new life. They also were to divide 500 acres of land on Bair Branch and Shipmon’s Branch:
Item I gave and bequeath to my Daughter Darcass one Negro man Called Tom one three year old heffer one two year old mair one Feather bed formerly called hers together with the stead and furneture thereto belonging one Flax Wheels one Dish one bacon two plaits three Delph plaits one Iron pot two weavers Slays also five hundred Acres of land lying together on the Bair branch and the Shipmons branch which sd Land I will to be Equally Divided between sd Daughters Darkess and Ferrebee.

Item I gave and bequeath to Daughter Ferrabee one Negro man called Jack one Mare Coalt one Cow and Calf twelve geese one cotton wheel and cards one small dish and large bacon one puter plate three Delph plaits one Dutch oven two weavers Slay also two hundred and fifty Acres of Land above mentioned one Cow hide.
William Gurley’s last will and testament must have been contested as a court ordered division of the estate recorded Oct 1815 appears in deed book P, page 261:

gurley division

Shaded gray above, Benjamin Thomas (for his wife) drew lot number six of the estate being 130 acres of William Gurley’s 200 acre tract. And, drawing lot number 5, Drury Austin received two tracts including the remaining 70 acre northern portion of William Gurley’s200 acre tract. Note from the will that the land on Bear Creek should be 500 acres but in actuality is only 200 acres. And note from the will that the tract had been ordered to be divided between two daughters Pherabee and Darcass. However, the 1815 division gives land to Drury Austin whom we know married daughter Elizabeth Gurley. Looking at the attached estate plat, you can get a better idea of William Gurley’s estate lands:

William Gurley estate

It’s been widely thought that tract number 6 was bequeathed to Benjamin Thomas Senior. However, Benjamin Senior was much older making me question the age differential between husband and wife. Besides that, shortly after the division, on 11 Oct 1818, Benjamin Thomas Junior divested himself of the land by selling the 130 acre tract to William Morris of Mecklenburg County (Deed S-152 Anson). The transaction was witnessed by Anias Thomas and Jas. Morris. There’s no surviving record of what happened to Drury Austin’s 70 acre portion. We do know that Drury ended up in Lincoln County Tennessee with his brother Michael.

Let’s take a look at a few other pieces of land acquired by William Gurley.

Oakboro, NC, 1:24,000 quad, 1971, USGS

Dated 25 Jul 1774, Solomon Townsend received land grant (3629, Anson NC in yellow) for 100 acres near the mouth of a small branch (likely being Shipman’s Branch). On 6 Jul 1779 Solomon sold the land to Middleton Pool with witnesses being William Brooks and William Bennett Senior. And then on 28 Feb 1782 Middleton Pool in turn sold the land to William Gurley with witnesses being Jacob Green and John Austin.

Dated 14 Oct 1783, Middleton Pool also acquired land grant 4382 (in green). Being 50 acres, Middleton sold this tract to William Gurley on 10 Aug 1787 (Deed D-272, Anson NC). Witnesses were Willis Gurley and Joseph (x) Johnson.

On 9 Mar 1799 William Gurley received a Secretary of State land grant (5333 Anson NC) for 250 acres situated on Rocky River.  Note that this grant captured or surrounded the lands that William Gurley had earlier purchased of Middleton Pool.

One other tract granted to William Gurley ( 5674 Anson NC) was issued on 30 Aug 1802. Per his will and as recorded in deed book S, page 118, on 6 Apr 1815 William Gurley of Anson sold this tract to his son Willis Gurley. Witnesses were Thomas Vann and Benjamin Thomas Senr. And then apparently taking the monetary gains and moving west, on 13 Oct 1819 Willis Gurley sold the tract to David Cagle of Cabarrus (V-307 Anson NC). Witnesses were Benjamin Thomas and J. B Skinner.

Well after the death of William Gurley, Benjamin Thomas received a land grant for 300 acres (6702 Anson NC) situated against the said Gurley’s land on the Shop House Branch. Was this Shop House or should it have been Shipman? Also, is this Benjamin Thomas Senior or his son of same name who we now know married a daughter of William Gurley? Let’s look back to William Gurley’s estate plat, adding that information to what we now know of William Gurley’s land on the Rocky River.

Oakboro, NC, 1:24,000 quad, 1971, USGS

Looking at the above, and as surveyed for William Gurley’s widow Millinder, the dower tract is identified by hash marks. The yellow shaded area to the right fell into the hands of John Laughorn who married Sarah Gurley. Then, on 11 Jan 1817, William Hammond Esq. Sher. sold the tract to Willis Gurley by virtue of an execution against Sally Laughorn. Witnesses were William Gurley and Benjamin Thomas. The green shaded area fell into the hands of Willis Gurley per the estate of William Gurley. Then on 1 Sep 1815, almost immediately after receiving the land from William Gurley’s estate division, Willis Gurley sold that tract to Benjamin Thomas (R-90 Anson NC). And, to the left of the green shaded tract is an unshaded area falling within the widow’s tract. Drawn by son Henry Gurley, dated 27 May 1817, Henry Gurley now of now Haywood County NC sold his land to Benjamin Thomas Junior (S-168 Anson NC0. John Austin and Jac. Austin witnessed the transaction. So by 1817 Benjamin Thomas had a grant to the south of the Gurley land and had bought out the estate lands along the river to his north.

Dated 22 Jan 1835, being just a short time prior to penning his last will and testament, Benjamin Thomas Junior deeded 200 acres (Z-136 Anson NC) to his son Jacob Thomas. For love and affection, the gifted land was part of two tracts. And, helping to locate the land, one of the short lines on the south side crossed Shipman’s Branch. Also, one of the back lines for this tract adjoined a line marking Benjamin Thomas’ 300 acres. Because the 300 acre tract was granted to Benjamin Thomas Junior, it’s my belief we are looking at Benjamin Junior and his son Jacob.

Benjamin’s wife, who I think to be Darcass Gurley, died shortly after 1820. Prior to 1830, Benjamin Junior married second Elizabeth Brown Traywick to whom was born a son Jesse Green Thomas. In a letter written home during the civil war, Jesse pleads for a letter from “Jacob.” I believe that Jacob is Jesse’s half-brother born to Darcass Gurley.


Last Will and Testament of William Gurley

In the name of God Amen I, William Gurley of the State of North Carolina and County of Anson Being in Perfect mind and Memory Dothe Make this my Last will and testament and calling to mind the Mortality of my Body and knowing that is is appointed for all men once to Die I first recomend my Sole to God hath gave it and my body to be Berried in such a place as my Executor shall hereafter appoint and now for Setteling my tempora Estate

I do gave and bequeath in the manner following first I will that all my Just Debts be payed out to my Estate

Item I gave and bequeath to my wife Millinder three hundred acres of Land on River between Willie Gurley Laine and the mouth of Shipmons branch Containing the plantation where on I now live together with all improvements and prfits thereon belonging also all my plantation tools such as plows hoes axes & also all my carpenters tools one large bacon the Largest Dish and three plates together with all the knives forks and spoons one feather bed stead and furniture three weavers stays one flax wheel all the water vessels barrels casks &c one Iron pot one skillet also one black mair two Read culred cows and three calfs one three year old bull one three year steer five three year old barrows ten two year olds belonging to the same gang and three sows and all the piggs belonging to them one weavers loom one cotton wheel six chears five Reap hook together with Sundry articles of small value belonging about the house one Negro woman called Fillas Durin her widowhood then to be sold and her & Value Equaly Divided between my three Eldest Daughters namely Elizabeth Austin Jaen Pool and Sarah Lauhon also one yearling bull and three sheep also the half of all the unmarked hoggs and hand Mill also two kids and three Sids of leather to gether some other Remnant also my Saddle and bridle also my Clothes hat and five bee hives

Item I give and bequeath to my Eldest daughter Elizabeth two cows and Calf and the yearling to one of sd. cows calfs I will and bequeath to Charloty Austin also I will to my Daughter Elizabeth Six two year old hoggs Useing about the hors pen lic also one small hide of leather

Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Jean one Cow and Calf also three two year old hoggs Spaid Sows and Barrow belonging to the Laughon Gang, also two hundred and fifty acres of land on the Watery Branch to be Equally Divided between her three boys Alexander Pool and William Pool and Nathan Pool also the smallest sid of leather

Item I gave and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah one cow and Calf and one heiffer now in her possession also two Sows and their Shote and foure tow year old hoggs also two hundred Acres of land joining Leonard Musslewhites Loine including the Miry Spring also an Entry adjoining John Laughon also one side of Leather
Item I give and bequeath to my Eldest Son James Gurley one hundred Acres of land including the oak pond also one bull one Whipsaw and pile.

Item I gave and bequeath to my Sone Willis Gurley foure hundred Acres of Land if there is as much after the tree hundred already given is run out Lying out towards Muslewhite also my blacksmith and Coopers tools and one half of the unmarked hoggs also an Entry of LAnd joining his own Laine also all the jointing and plaining Stocks
Item I give and bequeath to my son William Gurley all Lands to me belonging below the Mouth of Shipmon’s Branch one Molatto man called Csar one 1 horse one three year old heaffer two sows and nine Shots one feather bed that was formerly Calld his together with the Stid and furniture thereto belonging also my Shoe making tools also one musket gun also one Iron pot one Beehive

Item I gave and bequeath to my Daughter Darcass one Negro man Called Tom one three year old heffer one two year old mair one Feather bed formerly called hers together with the stead and furneture thereto belonging one Flax Wheels one Dish one bacon two plaits three Delph plaits one Iron pot two weavers Slays also five hundred Acres of land lying together on the Bair branch and the Shipmons branch which sd Land I will to be Equally Divided between sd Daughters Darkess and Ferrebee

Item I gave and bequeath to Daughter Ferrabee one Negro man called JAck one Mare Coalt one Cow and Calf twelve geese one cotton wheel and cards one small dish and large bacon one puter plate three Delph plaits one Dutch oven two weavers Slay allso two hundred and fifty Acres of Land above mentioned one Cow hide
Item I gave and bequeath to these my Executors Willis Gurley and Leaonard Musslewhite three heffers and three sids of Leather one black some parts three year old another white and another brinded these to be sold to satisfy my just Debts.
also I do Nominate Constitute and appoint the afore sd. Willess Gurley and Leonard Muslewhite to be my hole and sole Executors of theis my last will and Testament as
Signed sealed and Delivered before us


Witness My hand and Seal

Test William (W) Gurley (Seal)
Richd Austin
William Gurley Junr
Willis gurley
Leonard (X) Musslewhite
Executors to the written will



State of North Carolina
Anson County October Sess 1804
The written will was duly aproved in open court by the oath
of Richd Austin a witness thereto and ordered to be Recorded





wilmStationed in Wilmington during the summer of 1862, Jesse Green Thomas was there in service of CSA Co. C. 10th Battalion NC. Better known as the Monroe Heavy Artillery, the unit was responsible for garrison duty along with the construction of defense works surrounding the port of Wilmington. Can you imagine the swampy lowlands and of the six mile long earthen breast works dotted with military encampments ? Imagine the excessive heat, the blood and sweat, and the never ending presence of mosquitos. It was in this environment where the young Jesse Green met his fate.

Born the son of Benjamin Thomas Jr and second wife Elizabeth Brown Traywick, Jesse Green Thomas likely received a basic education as was directed in his father’s 1836 last will and testament:

“I want three head of horses (sold) I want sold and I leave it to my wife Betsey to raise Jesse upon and if she marry again the property that I have left my wife Betsey belongs to Jesse Green Thomas …but what is in my houses and I want him to be Edicated with good learning.”

Putting his education to work, Jesse Green Thomas wrote at least 27 letters while in Wilmington. In four surviving letters to his mother, Jesse tells of life in the camp and of his insatiable hunger to hear from family back home. His letters also tell of loneliness, sickness, and they offer a glimpse of the wicked epidemic which would soon sweep through Wilmington.

I’ve prettified the following from transcribed copies graciously given to me years ago from Ms. Annie Lee Traywick. Please read and it’s important to note that they are in chronological order ie …1, 2, 3, 4:

signIt appears Jesse Green Thomas was among those who fell in what later grew to become an epidemic spread of Yellow Fever. In his letters he wrote mostly of care given in hospital as well as of his appreciation of good treatment while recovering at the home of an unnamed local resident. And written with greater urgency and a growing sense of despair, the last letter penned in early August foretells of Jesse’s ultimate demise. According to cemetery records we know that “Jesse (CSA) Thomas” is buried in a specially designated section at Oakdale Cemetery. His death date is listed as Oct 19, 1862. In this, Wilmington’s largest and most historically prestigious cemetery, there is a grassy hill scattered with but a few marked graves. Known now as the 1862 Burial Site of the Yellow Fever Victims, it is said that approximately 400 bodies to be interred were dragged from town, burned, and buried there in hopes of halting the spread of disease. At the front of this hallowed ground is a simple marker listing all of those believed to have been buried in the special plot. Among those listed is Jesse Green Thomas who lies at rest in row 4, grave 22. No longer is he away from home and pleading for the attention of family. No longer is he isolated by a lack of friendship. Jesse Green Thomas is at peace.

monumentA matter of curiosity to me, it’s noteworthy that the 1862 Yellow Fever burial site is somewhat hidden behind the trees above Oakdale cemetery’s Jewish section. With no proof to make the claim, I’d think the Yellow Fever section is primarily the site where those buried are mostly townsfolk. Across the vast cemetery, on the other side, is a large earthen mound capped with a monument portraying a Confederate Soldier standing at rest. It is said over 300 soldiers are buried at that site.

There is no grassy area accounting for the sizeable space needed to properly bury 300 men. Did the soldiers die as the result of disease, suddenly in battle, or through slow attrition spanning the war? Is the burial site a pit grave for masses of men or are there many individual graves? Why is it a mound? And if a mound and as result of Yellow Fever, why is Jesse Green Thomas not buried there among other Confederates? Is it because Jesse Green’s last days were spent in the home of a local resident.