It’s a big day for my THOMAS family. The culmination of many years of research has solidified the story of our earliest known ancestor, Benjamin Thomas of Anson County NC. We know much about him and research tells us of his neighbors, of whom many came from places like Wake, Chatham and Johnston counties before settling in Anson. It would seem from the old saying “birds of a feather flock together,” that somehow we’d find Benjamin living among neighbors in an earlier time and place. But this is not so. Benjamin Thomas of Anson County is our “Brick Wall;” there is nothing of his past beyond Anson County.
DNA testing has been helpful in expanding our story line. Beliefs have been verified and new family relations have been illuminated. We’ve learned of Joseph Thomas who came from NC through GA before his story comes to end in Coosa County Alabama. There’s also Andrew Thomas (born in NC) who first appears in 1860 Montgomery County Alabama. For both families there is no existing records linking to earlier family here in NC. Like the descendants of Benjamin Thomas, all we have are hunches and a few seemingly meaningful naming traditions.
It truly is a big day for the Thomas family as very new DNA testing now connects us to a family who came from an area we’ve always believed to be within the classical migratory path through NC. For the first time, we’re able to look back in time, to see over our brick wall, and catch a glimpse upstream to the people our Benjamin may have known as family.
Here’s the story. As it turns out, a James Frederick Thomas flew 30 missions as a B 24 Aircraft Commander. Before that, he drove a mule for his sharecropping daddy, John Edward Thomas in Lee County, NC. Like his father, James Frederick Thomas’ son Daniel Thomas also took to the skies as an Air Force pilot with our former Strategic Air Command. Curious of his past, Daniel was DNA tested and his family tree is as follows:
(Daniel Thomas 1946)
James Frederick Thomas (Dad) 1919 – 2006
John Edward Thomas 1884 – 1966 Moore and Lee County, NC
John Martin Thomas 1849 – 1910, Moore County, NC
Daniel Thomas 1814 – 1880, Moore County, NC
*John Thomas 1772 – 1849, Moore County, NC
Joseph Luther Thomas 1747 – 1818, New Kent, VA to Moore County, NC
Joseph Thomas Jr 1701 – 1758, New Kent, VA to Moore County, NC
Joseph Thomas Sr 1680 – 1735, Isle Wight, VA to Bertie, NC
Richard Thomas 1629 – 1687, Nansemond, VA (Birth date needs correction)
John Thomas Jr
John Thomas Sr Wales to Queen’s Creek, VA
If this holds to scrutiny, the linage may go a long way in identifying our path to the past. Thus far, in the few days devoted to this new possibility, I am sincerely overwhelmed by the woven web of history of this line and how it links to family and neighbors who made their home along Rocky River. Please stay in touch and if connected, note that a Facebook user group will soon be created to collectively share research, stories, documents and pictures with the idea of extending our family history beyond the brick wall.
*John’s marriage bond from Wake County NC to wife Mary Oaks. Note a Daniel Oaks lived close to if not on land adjoining the lands of John’s father Joseph. Family land records in the area around and under present day Shearon Harris Lake connect with families Green, Osborn, Kent, Straight, and others who removed to live along the Rocky River. And today, there remains a Thomas Creek and remnants of a Thomas mill nearby (see map at the top of the page).