Descendants of Asa Thomas?

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The Jones-Johnson Farm features the renovated 1790’s log-built Etheldred Jones House that stands just behind this grand Greek-Revival-turned-Neo-Classical William Wesley Johnson House.

As has been covered in earlier posts, Asa Thomas is recorded as receivig a grant for land.

Living nearby to Etheldred Jones were the families of Joseph, Nathan and Jonathan Thomas. Etheldred Jones is connected to each of these men per various county records. And like Asa Thomas, Jonathan Thomas never received a grant for land in Wake County. Asa was, however, a chain carrier for grants to Nathan Thomas. And later, in 1793, both Asa and Nathan were buyers in the estate of Jonathan Thomas. Per 1800 census we know Asa was at that time living in Anson County NC. His whereabouts are uncertain after that point. And in 1804, the division of Jonathan Thomas’ land names sons Elijah, Elisha, Merrill, and Richard. It’s my belief all these Thomas are kin and that Asa, Nathan, and Jonathan just may be brothers or close cousins. I also believe they relate to Elisha Thomas from Bertie to Johnston County NC. And somehow yet unknown, they relate to Joseph Thomas who eventually died in neighboring Chatham County. We need to find a sampling of descendants from Nathan and Jonathan to see if a connection o Joseph can be verified through DNA.

Jonathan’s son Merrill Thomas can be found living in 1820 Clark County GA near Samuel Braswell who just after 1800 donated land in that county to Freeman’s Creek Baptist Church. There’s a marker at this church for famous Baptist missionary Lottie Moon who died of starvation on a flight back from China. Today the Lottie Moon Christmas offering is celebrated in Baptist churches throughout the south. And I wonder, even though family history indicates she was born in Virginia to a prominent family, could Lottie have ancestry back to Moon’s Chapel Baptist Church in Chatham County?

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1850 census – Clarke County GA

Back to the story, …there’s a clear path for the above Samuel Braswell from Chatham County NC through Hancock County GA and on to Clarke County GA. Also of interest, William and James Hales of North Carolina lived near Merrill Thomas in Clarke County. What makes this interesting you ask? …Cynthia, the daughter of Elisha and Lucy Massey Thomas of Johnston County NC married John Hales. Cynthia lived out her life in Johnston County.

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It seems to go quiet for the Thomas family in Wake County until when in 1854 a 67 year old David Thomas applied for a Revolutionary War petition based on his father’s, Asa Thomas’ service. David doesn’t name his children in the request and in 1850 he and wife Penny (born South Carolina) are enumerated with no children. Per Wake County marriage records, David Thomas married Penny Jones on 17 Nov 1815.

At this point a huge gratitude goes out to Frances Cullom Morgan whose vast knowledge on the Jones family has been of great help. In 1830, David Thomas is enumerated as having two sons 15-19 years of age. Frances pointed out that in Richard Jones’ 1834 last will and testament, Richard of southern Wake County bequeathed To my son Richard Jones the tract of land where on David Thomas now lives.” And according to Frances, the only line of this Jones family in South Carolina at the time of Penny Jones’ birth was Richard’s brother Nathaniel who had removed from Wake to Kershaw County SC. It is likely that Penny was born to Nathaniel’s first wife and after her death, returned with a sister to live with family in Wake County.

The story takes on new meaning as we identify likely sons of David and Penny Jones Thomas. We know the couple was aging and without children in 1850 and they do not appear in the 1840 census. Instead, in 1840, the only two Thomas families listed in southern Wake county are Etheldred and Kinchen Thomas. Let’s take a closer look.

Etheldred Thomas

Born ca. 1815, and as listed in the Raleigh Register, Etheldred Thomas married 14 Nov 1839 Martha King. In 1840, Etheldred is listed in census while his father and mother were not. From the ages, it appears David and Penny were living at that time in the home of their son Etheldred Thomas. On 28 Jul 1852, “Etheldred Thomas otherwise known as Etheldred Jones” sold 124 acres on the little creek, a tributary of White Oak Creek. Adjoining Utley, Turner, Seagraves and Hunter; the land on Fish Dam road was sold to Archilbald Leslie (deed 19-415, Wake NC). This deed is huge! It indicates Etheldred was changing his surname to Jones possibly due to being illegitimate  or maybe in honor of the man who housed and trained his grandfather Asa. Further linking the stories of Etheldred and David Thomas, in 1812, James Jones was appointed overseer of the road leading from Fish Dam Ford to Fayetteville from Richard Jones to the county line. David Thomas was listed among others ordered to work on the road.

This next bit of information I’d like not to tell. Though being hurtful, it happened and is true. Of all that’s good with this country, slavery is unforgivable and an abomination of God’s loving plan:

SAM T STEWART, EX-SLAVE.
“The speculators bought up Negroes as a drover would buy up mules. They would get them together by ‘Negro drivers’, as the white men employed by the speculators were called. Their names were Jim Harris of Raleigh, and yes, Dred Thomas, who lived near Holly Springs in Wake County. Wagon trains carried the rations on the trip to Mississippi. The drivers would not start until they had a large drove. Then the slaves were fastened together with chains. The chain was run between them, when they had been lined up like soldiers in double file. A small chain was attached to a Negro on the left and one to the Negro on the right and fastened to the main chain in the center.”

Sam T. Young’s complete story can be found in the slave narratives. I’ll not go much further on Etheldred other than to say he served in the civil war and was enumerated in 1900 as living in the Wake County soldier’s home.
Henderson Thomas

Born ca. 1815,  Henderson Thomas married Martha Norris on 17 May 1847. Martha is the daughter of Needham Norris and Patience Pearson. In the 1850 census, Henderson Thomas (millwright) and family are enumerated next to Needham Norris. On the same page is a person named Kinchen Thomas (more on Kinchen later). In April of 1851, two tracts purchased by Henderson Thomas were recorded in court. First tract (deed 19-11, Wake NC) from Gaston Jones was situated on Carries Creek adjoining S. P. Harris. The second tract from John Watson was for 44 acres on the north side of Buckhorn Creek. In 1852, Henderson Thomas sold 33 ½ acres on Fish Dam Road “near the Holly Spring Meeting House” Henderson sold the land to Andrew K. Clements, James Rogers and Andrew W. Betts; Masters and Wardens of Holly Spring Lodge # 115. The land was likely purchased as a site to build an academy for the town of Holly Springs.

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At the close of the civil war, in 1865, Henderson sold to Richard Jones, land on the Avent Ferry road adjoining lands of Penny, Burt, A. leslie, T.C and the crossroad at Joseph Norris’ (deed 28-635, Wake NC). This is the same Richard Jones upon whose  land Henderson Thomas’ possible father David Thomas once lived! Note that on the present day map of Holly Springs, the Avent Ferry Road runs two blocks over from the masonic lodge.

In 1870 Henderson Thomas and family are enumerated as follows in the Buck Horn Township of Wake County: record-image_s3ht-xxdq-4j2

An 1871 map of Wake County shows Thomas Mill just south of Holly Springs on waters of Buckhorn Creek:mill

In the 1870’s, Henderson Thomas and wife Martha (now of Moore County) sold their lands to several African American men named Norris and to William Ballentine and William Johnson.  Henderson apparently moved to Moore County where we know Martha died 5 Apr 1882. According to the book Buffalo Creek Chronicles by Kathy Brooks Jones, Martha Norris Thomas is interred at Poplar Branch Methodist Church cemetery in old  Jonesboro.

Kinchen Henry Thomas

Born ca. 1823, Kinchen Thomas married 15 Nov 1847 Sarah Weeks in Cumberland County NC.   The bondsman was Kimbrel Jones, a grandson of Jesse Jones of southern Wake County. Note that Kimbrel married Rebecca Matthews who I believe ties back into the family of Asa Thomas’s wife, Pleasant Matthews. In 1850, Kinchen, wife Sarah, and a newly born daughter are enumerated in Wake County on the same page as Henderson Thomas. Dated 19 Mar 1851, Kinchen Thomas sold 52 acres (deed 19-399, Wake NC) to Archibald Leslie. The land was situated on Rocky Branch, a tributary of Middle Creek near present day Sunset Lake. It joined the lands of Shadrack Barker and B. Holland and the deed was witnessed by Hill Richardson and Young Booker. Note that Young Booker witnessed David Thomas’ Revolutionary War pension request on behalf of Asa Thomas’ service. Also, note that Kinchen, Henderson and Etheldred all had land dealings with Archibald Leslie. Archibald was a store owner and leader in the growing community of Holly Springs.

43888239_129205908237_tonemappedKinchen Thomas and family removed to Campbell County GA in the mid-1850’s. Buried at Powder Springs Methodist Church Cemetery in Cobb County, the story of Kinchen Henry Thomas is further told through a well written Find-a-Grave site. Noting that Henderson Thomas sold his land to the Holly Spring Masonic Lodge, I find it interesting to see the emblem atop Kinchen’s burial monument.

5 thoughts on “Descendants of Asa Thomas?

  1. Sherry Heath

    I appreciate your work and information. I am related to Merrill Thomas and any info on him would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  2. geothos Post author

    Sherry, very good and has any male from your line of THOMAS had their DNA tested? There’s a good find-a-grave site for Kinchen H Thomas who also moved to Clarke County and I think maybe someone from that line is now committed to being tested. Would be great to someday confirm by DNA whether or not the various lines through Wake were related. Also, I’ve made a mistake on Asa in this last post and will be correcting in the next.

    Reply
  3. brad thomas

    etheldred thomas is my third great grandfather. he has been my my brick wall. in reading your post, looks like david thomas would be my 4th, asa my fifth, and evan my 6th? my dna test and tree are on ancestry.com

    Reply
    1. geothos Post author

      There was a time I believed this Asa was son of Evan but no longer as there’s no legal record linking the two but still could be! I’m thinking your Asa surely is linked to Jonathan and Nathan whose land records were witnessed etc by Asa. Also, my own DNA matches that of descendants from Joseph Thomas who lived no more than a mile or so from Asa. So, I’m really curious about your DNA. I’ve reached out to descendants of Kinchen Thomas and hopefully someone in a FB usergroup for that family will be tested. Also have posted on a Findagrave site in GA for Merrill Thomas, son of Jonathan. The various lines need to be chased and tested.

      Reply

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