There’s John and Joseph Thomas in early Bertie County NC. Actually, there seems to be lots of them and there’s a pretty good record trail leading their descendants south and west from Bertie to Johnston and Wake Counties NC. It seems for many, family is identified by what line out of these men named Joseph Thomas one descends. But for me, my ancestor is named Benjamin who showed up in 1778 Anson County NC and had sons David, Ezekiel, Ananias, Jacob, and Benjamin Jr. This Benjamin of mine must have been driven more by religion than the family name ….makes sense? And I’d guess, based on his children’s names, that he was strongly influenced by the Baptist movement. Do I hear an amen?
For more than 30 years many people have proclaimed that Benjamin of Anson was the son of prominent Stephen Thomas who removed from Maryland to a location in old Anson County further east. But, I’m here to tell you that a close study of deeds and court records blows this notion all to pieces. Also, this understanding is made indisputably false by way of DNA testing. There’s no family tie …at all! So who is my Benjamin’s daddy?
All the while, there in Anson County, there’s a Jacob Thomas who acquired land near Benjamin two years before Benjamin himself bought land from Gideon Green. Could this Jacob be the father of Benjamin? Or was he a brother? We can only guess. And greatly adding to this clue, recent DNA testing has solidly linked the Benjamin Thomas family of Anson NC to the family of Joseph Thomas who once lived in Wake before moving to Chatham and then possibly to Moore County NC.
We have new family. We know there are a lot of us in Anson, Union, and Stanly Counties. But folks, there’s a pile of us as large or larger to our north in Moore, Chatham and Wake. And like Jacob Thomas hidden amongst the record of our Thomas family in Anson, there was a Jacob too in Wake County whose record is fainter yet. And yes, there were men named Jacob Thomas living in Bertie County whose fathers had names like Joseph.
It’s times like this that I wish I knew my Bible better. I’d love to tell a story of a father named Joseph. And, of Jacob who quietly went about life without being noticed.