Before delving into this, let me first tell you where I’m heading. There is a family of Thomas in early Edgecombe County whose patriarch is named John Thomas. John is a well-known Baptist minister in early Northeast North Carolina whose story is a defining component for not only that area, but for the history of all Baptists in state of North Carolina. John was deeply involved in the regular Baptist movement and was the founder of Toisnot Baptist Church. My own ancestors from the 1700’s were given names such as Ananias, Ezekiel and Jacob. I’m no scholar of religion but believe these names point to a strong Baptist root for my own family who lived in Anson County NC. And northeast of Anson where my folk lived, recent DNA discovery links us to the family of Joseph Thomas who lived in the 1770’s Wake County NC. That family’s history, through mostly lore, ties to an earlier Thomas family living further east in Bertie County. Without real proof, they believe Joseph Thomas was born in Bertie County and then moved from there to Wake.

I have problems with the idea that Joseph Thomas was born in Bertie. It may be true, but it also could be wrong. My concern is that many of the neighbors of Joseph Thomas in Wake County had lived earlier in Edgecombe County. There were very few who had made the jump as one motion from further east in Bertie. It’s bothers me that I see many more of his neighbors who were from areas of Edgecombe where lived a well-known person by the name of John Thomas. Our Y-DNA study does not yet link to any other Thomas family upstream in the migration. There’s no clear links back to either Edgecombe or Bertie. So, knowing there are no records of proof, it’s my hope that we somehow step up the effort to locate those from such ancestry for testing. With that out of the way, let’s look at what’s got me wishing.


You just have to love working land records. Like cereal, a single piece of land is pretty much a bright sampling of what you’re about to enjoy when it’s all piled or puzzled together. That one piece along with others then becomes a sustaining meal carrying you forward with energy for at least a period of time. Then, there is the woe is me period of time as energy fails from a lack of nourishment. We depend on the next bowl being there and so the ups and downs go on and on. That’s why I eat my land plats for breakfast!
I like to surround myself with platted regions of land maybe in real life being 5-10 miles in dimension. There’s also the smaller groupings that as of yet do not mate up to the big picture. And finally there are all the left over bits or individual tracts in my pile of pieces waiting to be linked. Tonight I was going through this latter pile when I came across the odd star sort of shaped 150 acre piece issued to John Parker in Anson County. Being grant # 6469, the land adjoined that of Isaac Williams. Though eluding me for years, recently discovered connections allowed me to connect the lands of John Parker to the larger map. John’s 150 acre tract was on the west side of Gourdvine Creek located just below Jacob Gurley’s land near the present day Edmond Davis Cemetery.


In celebration and also knowing better than to leave the job half done, I ended the day with a quick look through the deed books in search of subsequent conveyances of this land. It turns out that John Parker was not in Anson very long as dated 25 Oct 1821 he sold the land [Deed U-52, Anson NC] to Solomon Mullis. It was in that deed that the said John Parker identified himself as now living in Clarke County, Georgia. I love it when people on the move tell you where they’ve gone! Why don’t they all~!!

This gets more interesting for me and my Thomas family research as a Google search for “John Parker” resulted in the following defunct post by Jullie Sheffer:

Frances East daughter of Joseph East and Milly, was born in 1788 in northeast GA, probably in Wilkes Co. She married John Parker on 23 November 1808 in Clarke County GA. Fanny belonged to Mars Hill Baptist Church in Jackson Co GA, as did her sister Milly. Fanny’s husband John Parker was a first cousin of the John Parker who married Milly. Fanny’s husband John Parker also lived in Edgecombe Co NC, but in the Toisnot Swamp area. He was born about 1786 in Halifax Co NC, son of Aaron Parker and Charity Sheffield. John was Captain in the 241st District Company of Clarke County militia in 1815-1816; in 1818 he was elected as a representative to the Georgia State Assembly. In the 1820s he was in Captain Davenport’s District in Clarke Co. In the mid-1830s he owned land and slaves in Lee Co and in Cherokee Co.

John Parker lived in Clarke Co in the 1820 and in 1830. Over the years Frances was dropped from Mars Hill Baptist Church membership, and then rejoined. But finally in December 1835 was dropped for good because she and her husband had moved to Chamber Co AL. John Parker died intestate on 15 October 1860 in Chambers Co and is buried in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery in the northwestern part of Chambers Co. His wife outlived him, but also probably died in Chambers Co where they lived in 1860. His children can be determined from his estate records.

Maybe Jullie will find what I’m writing and in turn be able to further her research. That’s always the hope! And before getting too excited, a closer look at the Anson County deeds revealed John Parker selling land very close to the above on nearby Negroehead Creek. In that transaction [M-246 Anson NC] dated 3 Jun 1800, John Parker and wife Suca of Mecklenburg County NC are selling their land to Daniel Coburn. The deed is witnessed by Henry Ross and Stephen Parker. From an online DNA forum, Wayne Parker writes:

“John Parker born in NC maybe Anson Co., NC. Died in 1813 in Stewart Co., TN. His wife is listed in his will as Suca, her name maybe Susannah (Henderson). Their son Nathan Parker family (the y-DNA match is from this line) remained in Stewart Co., TN, Nathan Parker may have married (Frances Morris Pistole). At this time I have no information on their son David Parker. Their son Stephen Parker married Mary Ursula Gilbert and moved first to Henry Co, TN in 1830 and Marshall Co., MS 1840. Stephen died in 1848 either in Marshall Co., MS or Rankin Co., MS His wife Mary died in 1869 in Rankin Co., MS. Their son Dr. Hulling Houston Parker died in 1894 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin,Travis Co., TX

From a quick search I’ve found nothing else accounting for John Parker’s stop in Anson County. Did he go to Georgia or Tennessee? Was this one person or two?  These guys lived very close to each other; are they the same? This may be new and maybe not and it could even be evidence of another person though I think the John Parker in Anson is the same as he who went to Clarke County, Georgia. Did you know that children of the Baptist minister John Thomas moved to the area of Clark and Hancock Counties GA? Did he go there or, did he go to Stewart County TN?

I love it when the records talk to you! And what’s so dang exciting to me is the mentioning in the above post of John Parker’s beginnings on the Toisnot. I’m sure you’re laughing but to me I love the sound of the door opening.

My Thomas family lived along Gourdvine Creek as did that of John Parker. Was this John a member of other Parker families who lived in the area? Did he know the families of Nicholas, Elisha, Thomas or Peter? As with in Wake, the Thomas family neighbors in Anson County do have ties back to the northeast. My Benjamin Thomas in Anson County is known to have had neighbors from Martin and Bertie Counties. However, I’m finding many more that had come closer afield from places like Edgecombe, Wayne and Johnston Counties.

Family is like dragging a busted bag of grass seed across the yard. You’ll drop seed at both ends as well as along the path you’ve taken. And as it pertains to our Thomas family, everyone seems to have found a likely candidate in early Bertie that sort of works but without proof. Is that what really happened??


  1. geothos Post author

    Hi there Rob, we have a FB group (Our Thomas Family: to early Virginia) which has not seen too much conversation as of late. Anyhow, would love to discuss your ties there if you’re on Facebook. Thanks!

  2. Debbie Byrd

    Hi, I was searching for Zacks Branch in hopes of locating my ancestors home area. Directions to survey 200 acres of land for George W Davison/Davidson Sr. was given July 12, 1779. ..”in Anson County On the south west side of Pee Dee River lying on Zacks Branch where the Sawyers Road crosses the said branch beginning at a post oak on the east side of said branch and turning south two hundred and fifty three pole crossing said Sawyers Road to an Oak then West One Hundred and twenty seven pole crossing one fork of said branch to an Oak then North Two Hundred and fifty three pole crossing the other fork and the Sawyers Road to an Oak then East One hundred and twenty seven pole crossing said branch to the? beginning Surveyed for Geo. Davison” From your maps I can’t exactly figure it out but I know I am in the area at least. The Randles would have lived in the area also. George W Davidson, Jr. married Mary Randle the daughter of Peter and Molsie (Sims) Randle mentioned in your Rocky River Circuit. George died in about 1810 and I cannot find a grave for either he or Brazilia his wife, or George Jr & Mary. They probably had a family plot that disappeared. Thank you for such great information! Debbie

      1. Debbie Byrd

        That makes sense! On the copy of the original, signed by the surveyor, his S in Surveyed and L in Lawyer are exactly the same. I suspected that but didn’t know about the change in creek names.
        I have an Abner Thomas who married Eliza Smith 1840 (Eliza’s sister married a Boggan) and Elizabeth Thomas, who married and Burch then a Caraway, who’s daughter married a Boggan. I don’t have a real link to you yet but I think I’m related to everyone else in Anson County!
        Thank for for your help and writing this wonderfully written blog that brings the people to life in my mind. What a wonderful gift you have.

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