Joseph Newsome was likely born in what’s now Wayne County NC in 1775 at the start of the American Revolution. His ancestry is clearly traceable by land deeds to early 1600’s Jamestown VA and possibly earlier to Robert Newsome from the 1550’s Newsome Chapel in Lancashire England. Like many others, Joseph and members of his family moved south and west, settling on the hills along Gourdvine Creek in present day Union County NC. It was there where his daughter Ally Newsome married my ancestor David Thomas, the son of Ananias Thomas.
In the late 1990’s I was overwhelmed with joy to learn that Joseph Newsome’s bible survived and was safe in the hands of the family matriarch whose life, at that time, was beginning to fade. Befriending her grandchild online through Genforum, I was graciously given the following photocopies. As you can see, the technology of the day was not very good though that’s okay as the record held important bits of information including the life record for my great-great grandmother Alla/Ally Newsome Thomas. And looking back to Joseph Newsome, it’s hard to imagine his legacy. It’s big; statistically, from 3,000-6,000 people have walked this earth because of the life he perpetuated.
Now many years later, I’m wanting to tell Joseph’s story, to show off the bible record and to share what I’ve learned from its pages. Putting my newfound love of photography to work, I recently sought to create and distribute a more perfect copy of the bible record. But time moves forward and the old matriarch has since passed. And, in process, the bible’s whereabouts is not at this moment known. Hopefully it’s in good hands. Likely, the present owner is unaware of its importance and hopefully will someday bring it forward.
Moving on, I’ve spent the last few weeks watching evening TV while working to digitally clean the old record. I don’t know how I feel about that as I’ve surely made mistakes and altered what was written many many years prior. But hopefully, the record will increase understanding and encourage conversation on this wonderful family story. Here is the cleansed copy along with a typed version found in a Carolinas Genealogical Society Journal.
And as a note of its provenance, my copy of the bible record was lost many years ago in a computer crash. And, the Newsome descendant who helped me loaned out their copy and its whereabouts are no longer known. So I recently reached out to Newsome family historian Dave Johnston who had received a copy of the record about the same time as myself. Of note, Dave as a descendant is not from North Carolina, though he lived near the old Newsome home place in Wayne County while serving at Seymour Johnson Airforce Base.
Our family story survives because of good people who have kept the stories safe. Good record keeping is important as is the generosity of those who understand the importance for shared distribution of family records. A sincere thanks to Dave and to all who have made this post possible.