About

- Rocky River at Hagler's ford during high water.

– Rocky River at Hagler’s ford during high water.

My name is George Thomas and like most searchers of family history, I was drawn to it by the death of a loved one. At the start of 1996, I remember passing a cemetery on the way to my father’s funeral wondering if kin were buried there. Though my father came from a large family, I knew little of their history beyond the fact that I was named for my great-grandfather George Thomas.

Both of my parents were born and raised on the north side of the Rocky River in southwest Stanly County. Going upstream,the river divides Stanly from Anson and Union Counties to the south before turning north where it divides Stanly from Cabarrus County.  Family stories revolved around life along the river, the hardships of farming, and gold.  Gold?  Yes, in the late 1790’s the first major gold strike in the United States took place in adjoining Cabarrus County with mines later spreading into Stanly.

As for my mother, her LOVE family was thick in Stanly County with roots going back to Virginia.  My mom cherishes visiting and to this day, we share drives through the country and her memories of family, church, and community. There was not much need for researching her family as that history had already been researched and was complete, so we thought.

I was born and raised in Charlotte a few blocks from the home place of Rev. Billy Graham.  There are many like me whose parents moved to the city in search of better jobs as an escape from the hardships of farming.  I am by definition a city boy though my heritage pulls strong to the stories of life on the farm. We frequently beat the path down to the country and like most kids growing up in families with roots from western Stanly County, I always wondered what happened to the gold and why it had not made life a little easier for many of those living on the slopes along the river.
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Back in the spring of 1996, an important chapter in my life opened with a visit to the North Carolina State Archives. Not knowing what to do or how to even start, I was oblivious to the chuckles from the information desk when I extended a greeting “hello, I’m George Thomas and I’m here to find everything I can about my family.”

Single, living in Raleigh, and, as an educator free from work every summer, I became a fixture in the search room at archives. Older folks were quick to take me under their wing and I had the chance to rub elbows with top shelf historians whose wisdom was there for the picking. It was as if I were living a story unfolding as new resources and research perspective wove their way into my own journey.  Looking back, I really was blessed, the big enchilada sat right there before me.  Instead of having to travel hundreds of miles to the place of my family’s origin, records covering my family for hundreds of years were right there.

I also had the chance to travel.   Back along the Rocky River, I met other families searching for their beginning who, like me, held an equal excitement to tell their own stories. The sharing of discoveries led to more questions and pretty soon my circle of research pushed beyond North Carolina. Going west, did we cross the Appalachians or go around them? Where did the gold go when it left North Carolina? How did our story push beyond North Carolina and are there more of us out there?  Hello, out there? . . . are you there??? Trips in search of such questions were made to Indiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Washington D. C.
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What began as a never ending story slowed to a near halt as my search outgrew history itself. Available records go back only so far to a point where discoveries grow farther apart and are increasingly harder to connect. Like in a desert on a horse with no name, long periods of drought are followed by breakthroughs that come more slowly.  My brick wall now stands before me waiting quietly for some unsuspecting discovery born of DNA or in a record that as of now has no meaning.

It’s at this point that the work of most family historians end.  A compilation may be placed in a book, but more likely, all the good stuff ends in decaying legal pads and papers piled in some box. Early on, I hung my hat to the internet, believing that online histories were the way to keep the conversation alive and the story moving forward. But even the best online family history faces its own extinction at the base of the mighty brick wall.

It’s a shame it has to end this way.  There were so many ah-ha moments, so much fun and sharing, and then there was even the competition to become the first to know something new.  As with life itself, the real story is in the journey, not the outcome.

In this blog, it is my intent to revisit informative little factoids that ended up as a smirk of memory or on my website as single lines of type. I want to share my joy in discovery in hopes the information will inspire others to shake their tree. Some posts will be specific to source types and how they have been ignored or misunderstood.   Other posts will be on family and the many stories yet untold.  I will even reach beyond the piedmont of North Carolina while remaining true to the memory of those who made their homes along the Rocky River.

12 thoughts on “About

  1. grandpasvoice

    Hello,
    My name is Jim Wright. I am a retired Judge from California. Darling Love and Cerena Little were my 2nd Great Grandparents. (Calvin McDonald (Or McDaniel) Love, Mamie Darr Love, Leatha Winfrey, James Wright).
    I have just read your very well researched work on James Love, and thank you for it. I have been among the thoroughly confused as to the true ancestry of Darling Love. Even though it is romantic to claim ancestry through the discoverer of the gold nugget, it has been genealogically uncomfortable.
    If you have uncovered any further information on this subject, I would be pleased to receive it, and, of course, to share with you any information I have on my knowledge of the descendents of Darling Love.
    Jim Wright
    jlamontw@yahoo.com

    Reply
    1. geothos Post author

      Very nice to read your comment cousin Jim. It always baffled me how early research showed old James Love with sons named Thomas, Jonah Charles and then all of a sudden along comes Darling, Pleasant very late in life. Didn’t make sense. Of likely interest to you, D. Love had passage on a ship arriving in San Francisco in the mid 1850’s. I wondered if this was Darling and if he travelled west for a short jaunt to weigh in on gold mining or to just visit family there. Would very much love any old pictures or for you to share stories from your line of the family.

      Reply
  2. Robert Love

    Hi George,
    My name is Robert A. Love, Jr. and I am a direct descendent of James Love Sr. I’ve spent years reading and studying the research you have done on the Love’s in Stanly Co. As you well know the Love’s have done a great job naming their boy’s James and John so trying to keep them all straight is a nightmare. I believe you actually met with my grandmother when you were doing your research in Stanfield. Her name is Jocelyn Love and she lived across the street from Love’s Chapel UMC. She passed in 2006 and she left me all of the history she had on the Love’s, Morgan’s, Easily’s, Baucom’s and Nance’s. While going through the information I found two very old land deeds that describes land along Richardson Creek in Anson Co. I have electronic copies of these deeds and would be happy to share them with you if you are interested. One last bit of information on the Love’s. I have done DNA testing through Family Tree DNA and I am Haplogroup I-M233. I was hoping to identify James Love’s ancestors but I haven’t had any success. Thanks again for all of the work you have done and I would love to exchange information with you.
    Warm Regards,
    Robert Love

    Reply
    1. geothos Post author

      Hey cousin Robert,
      Thanks for the kudos and do remember very well your grandmother and visiting her to photocopy a print of Jonah Askew Love. And am glad to know her thoughts and history will have a good home with you. Do you live in Stanfield or Charlotte? I’d be more than happy to share thoughts and info collected over the years. I’m getting ready to retire from NC State and hope to updated and clarify some of what I’ve written in the past. It’s just hard to keep it all together at the moment. About DNA, I just looked at the familytreedna page and not seeing the results. But, I know Wayne Love in Union County has DNA that matches a descendant of James Love’s brother John who moved to Indiana and then to Missouri. Also, a descendant of Charles Love of Cleveland County NC to GA and then TX was tested and matches. And there’s others including a descendant of John in Watuaga County NC and Fred Love who descends from a James Love who died in Campbell County GA and who had a son Ingram.

      I’d love to see the deed in Union/Anson on Richardson Creek. I’ve platted all the grants from west of Pleasant Hill Church road to 742 and from south of Olive Branch to the river. There’s bits and pieces of the land that was received by Tories and resissued after the Revolutionary War. Any deeds would be great in helping to close a few gaps.

      Sincere thanks and do appreciate the inquiry,
      George

      Reply
      1. Rob Love

        I actually live next door to her house.:) I bought her land and house when she passed and built a house on the property. Can’t get much closer than that. People doing research ask me all the time if I could walk over to the cemetery and verify dates, names, etc. for them.

        I’m not sure why you can’t see my results but my kit # is 285387. I tested Y-DNA 67, Family Finder and I’m waiting on the confirmed SNP results. Wayne tested Y-DNA 12 and he is confirmed I-M233 and with the same surname it’s pretty safe to say we are related at the 6th generation level for me and 5 for him. Fred Love and I matched 66/67 markers. Fred’s most distant ancestor is Johanni Luiff (Love) b. 1440 and d. 1520 from Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. I believe our Love’s originated in Scotland and migrated to Ireland before coming to the New World but we may never know for sure. Anyway… I have the electronic files on a flash drive that’s not with me but as soon as I return home I’ll email them to you. Thanks for your quick reply and I look forward to corresponding with you. Rob

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      1. geothos Post author

        Rob, that’s correct, my email is geothos@bellsouth.net Also on the deeds, they are just to the west of the scope of my present mapping project. I believe the land is on the north side of the creek about midway between between Gourdvine and Negrohead (now Salem Creek). There’s a supreme court case from the 1870’s where Jacob Mullis is in suit with another person about the origin of land grants in the area. Some of the land was deeded as breakups of the old Dobb’s tract, but those folks left the area. They should have deeded the land before leaving, or if the left due to back taxes, the sheriff would have sold the lands. That, or it could have reverted back to the state for disbursement by way of being reissued by grant. Anyhow, the area along Salem Creek was a mess but the case includes a fabulous old plat laying out who owned what in the area.

        Also, it’s cool to see Bryant Richardson’s name as he moved to Cherokee County GA and his son on to Pecan Gap Texas. I’ve worked with an old lady from there who would love to have a copy of the land with his name attached. Bryant owned a small piece of land on Pleasant Hill Church road north of the Creek. He was involved with the Sharp family as well as Ezekiel Thomas. He moved to Alabama with Ezekiel’s son Jonathan. And also, Daniel Smith’s land was, I think, is buried on a hill in a field just to the north and west of Richardson Creek where 218 crosses. Back in teh day (1800) there was “Daniel’s Spring.” I’ve always wondered if there was a meeting house there.

  3. Cynthia Pierron Janney

    I am one of those other Thomas’ descendants. Thank you for you wonderful information on Stephen’s (1705-1774) sons, William and Col. Tristrum. I am a descendant of William and TN Stephen and his son, John Covington Thomas. Wondering if you agree with others that Stephen (1705-1774)’s father was Tristrum Thomas II of 1666- 11 Feb 1746? I know you are finding that this Tennessee Thomas’ are not your line, but perhaps you had information about Tristrum 1666? All the best in your hunt. You write concisely, yet with such detail.

    Reply
    1. geothos Post author

      Thanks for the response and is good to know it’s being seen. I never really delved deeply into things beyond Stephen as others at the time seemed to have it all under control. Living in Raleigh NC, I’ve spent most of my time in records most have been without access until recently. I do remember where son Robert went back to MD to handle a portion of the estate. So yes, up through MD I’d bet is mostly true. But beyond that, in England, it’s a guess.

      Reply
  4. Joanna haslam

    Hello!
    My name is Joanna (Thomas) Haslam. I to have been researching the Thomas line since the 90s. I am in Ohio where my Thomas’ came in the 1930s from Hamilton County, Indiana. In the late 1870 my 2nd great grandfather William Anderson Thomas made his way from Chatham County, NC to Indiana. William was the son of John Henry Thomas and Elizabeth Stuart. John Henry was the grandson of John Thomas and Mary Oats. I would love to talk with you more.

    Reply
    1. geothos Post author

      Hello Joanna and so glad to see your response. I’d be more than happy to discuss or share what info I have on the Thomas family in Lee/Chatham NC. I know little of the details within the family but am working more to build the connection back to Bertie and then down to my own Thomas who came to Anson County NC ca. 1779. WE all connect by DNA. I’ve sent you an invite to join our FB group “OUR THOMAS FAMILY: to early Virginia.” Look forward to learning about your line!

      Reply

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