Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thomas family in NC and SC

A question came across the Bush River mail list this week about the Thomas family that is found in Newberry area of SC in the mid to late 1700's and into the first decade of the 1800's.  The researcher was trying to connect the family of Isaac and Mary Davy Thomas to a Thomas family that has the name Tristan in several generations and connects back to Maryland in the early 1700's.  Skip down beyond the maps if you want just information with no background on where everyone was in SC in this time period.

The Bush River  mail list is one of my favorites because so many subscribers have so much information about the area of Bush River MM in the time period when my 5-hr-grandparents, George and Sarah Moore McKinsey, were living in this area.  We all bring to it information about where our ancestors were BEFORE Bush River and AFTER Bush River!  Many of these families were Quakers who moved into the south in the mid 1700's and then moved out of the south in the first decade of the 1800's with the mass migration of the Quaker families out of the south and into the non-slave states of Ohio and Indiana.  [Note: not all of the families that we chat about follow this particular migration pattern, but many do]  And more importantly everyone is exceptionally willing to dig around and SHARE!  And then we have our subscriber, Harriet Imrey, who seems to have a gift of summarizing the information that is floating around and sending it back to the list with her own research included in a concise and very readable report.  Harriet has given me permission to include her contributions to this article, and I will try to give credit in what I write below.

Let me start by showing where Bush River MM in this time period.  If you double click on the image you can see it more clearly.  The area that we are talking about lies in the fork between the Saluda and Broad River

Vivian Markley sent a URL fo a 1773 map available on line:

This area between the Saluda and the Broad Rivers is known even today as the Dutch Fork.  Here is what Wikipedia says about this area:

The Dutch Fork is a region of South Carolina located in LexingtonNewberry, and Richland Counties between the Saluda River and the Broad River where they fork together, forming the Congaree River. The area is named after the original German settlers of the area, and like the Pennsylvania Dutch, Dutch here is a corruption of the term deutsch (which means German in the German language). Initial settlement of the area was largely between 1730 and 1766 when the South Carolina government offered incentives for foreign Protestants to settle what was then the backcountry.

To further narrow down our area that we are looking at, we find Bush River in this Dutch Fork area:

This image is taken from website:

If you had ancestors who moved from Bush River to Southwestern Ohio, you might want to take a look at the website.

Many of the people that we discuss on our mail list lived in this Bush River area of SC.  Here is a modern map of where Bush River Cemetery is located as well as the land of my own George McKinsey and the Dunker Cemetery that was nearby:

You will notice Newberry, SC in the very top right hand corner.  The Bush River crossed 395 just to left of the land of George McKinsey and you can barely make it out on this map if you look closely going north from 395 between 395 and the Bush River Cemetery.


Here is a compilation of the discussion that took place this week about the Isaac and Mary Davy family of Bush River area in the mid 1700's to early 1800's.  I will start these comments with the fact that I have not personally seen documentation that Mary's maiden name was indeed Davy.  Her name was for  sure Mary as:  Isaac names his wife as Mary in his will.  Much of the information is a collaboration of many researchers who have shared with me.  Harriet Imrey stands out as a major contributor.

We know that Isaac and Mary first moved to the Newberry area in 1774:

From Hinshaw Vol I pg 1038 (Bush River MM minutes):  
1774,4,30.  Edward, John, Isaac & Abel recrq of father, Isaac and mother  

I have 12 children in the family group for Isaac and Mary:

The four sons named above in the Hinshaw record.  
Another son, William, is named on the same page in Hinshaw as a son of Isaac and Mary when he marries Sarah Pemberton in 1802.

Isaac died in  1805 
his will dated 1802 and it was proved in June 1805

Will says Isaac of Laurens District.  Will can be found at 

The widow, Mary, with the younger children, Nehemiah, Evan, Sarah, and Phoebe, were accepted at Miami MM, Waynesville, Warren County, May 6, 1807.  

So we now have nine children accounted for in this family.  Mary is named in her father's will as Mary Weisener and Elizabeth is named in her father's will as Elizabeth Cox.

I have one more child named Prudence in my unproved data base....I am going to leave this alone until I have more time.  The Prudence Thomas who married Peter Hawkins seems to be a different generation.  I have no other quick information about a Prudence who may have been a daughter to Isaac and Mary.

Isaac Thomas is found in the SC census of 1790 where he lived at that time in Newberry County.  Isaac Thomas was then the head of a family consisting of “one white male sixteen and upwards (probably himself), three free white males under sixteen and four white females including heads of family. 

Harriet interpreted this in the following way:  At the time of the 1790 census,  Edward Thomas, eldest child of Isaac and Mary had been married in 1784, and Isaac Jr, the 2nd born in 1763 was in all probability married by 1790. John the third child had been married in 1786.  That left nine children in the family to account for.  Abel Thomas was at this time twenty-two yearsl old, and he may have been married or away from home.  Evan, Nehemiah, and William were three sons under sixteen.  There were five daughters in the family, but some of them may have died before 1790 or may have been married by that time.

Two thoughts that I don't want to loose and hope to get back to "someday" are:

1)The child named Evan might point to the possibility that Isaac was indeed related to Mary Thomas who married  John Hiatt and was the daughter of Evan Thomas.

2)I have a data base in which I have put Edward Thomas in as father to Isaac.  This is absolutely not a true fact.  I have absolutely no documentation to connect the two men as father and son.  The only clue that might show a connection is that Isaac and Mary named their first son Edward. 


There seem to have been two separate families in SC with surname Thomas in this time period.  I have very little on the family related to Tristan Thomas from Maryland.  I believe that Joyce Overman and I have shared some information on this family when I was originally trying to sort them out.  She DOES descend from the Maryland Thomas family.  Here is what I sent to the mail list:

I tend to believe that the Thomas family from Md is different
from the Thomas family who came from PA....don't know if that is true or
not.  But all that I have on this family is the note that Joyce Bowman on
the Quaker mail list descends from this family and that they came into MD
instead of PA...and that an article that I had copied many years ago says
that  Stephen Thomas was the progenitor of this Thomas family in SC.  he
seems to have been b. c. 1705 and d. 1774 and married to Mary Clothier.
Stephen according to this article (NOT my research) was the son of
Tristram and Judith Clay.

Jane Gilbert on the Bush River mail list first brought it to the lists' attention that there were participants on the Thomas DNA project site for both Thomas families:

You can find the results of the Thomas Y-DNA Project here:

and Harriet did a nice job of summing up what the DNA project said:

The lines of Stephen & Mary Clothier Thomas, and of Isaac & Mary Davy 
Thomas, shared some states at various points in time, but didn't share 
genes with one another.  The Thomas surname yDNA page includes 7 samples 
from the Tristram/Stephen Thomas line, all in DNA group 166.  There are 
4 samples from the Isaac & Mary Davy Thomas line, all in DNA group 51.  
Probably no relatives here.

Gotta quit for today.  Want to add to my blog the following:  siblings of Isaac....information
information that I collected while in Orange County, NC about Edward Thomas when I was trying to prove that my Sarah McKinsey had maiden name Thomas.


Let me remind you that this is NOT my own family.  So the information is not as well documented as what would be in my family's data base.  This is information that I have gathered from others to be used as clues to sort out this Thomas family.  Please let me know if you have proof that I am correct or that I am incorrect.  

In this data base I have put Edward Thomas in as father of the siblings that I am going to list.  I absolutely do not believe this is TRUE!  But it is possible.  Edward is found in Old Frederick County in 1746 as an appraiser for the estate of James Bouldler.  He was most certainly an adult at this time.  The siblings that I am going to list next seem to have birth dates between probably 1738 and 1753.  So the relationship is not impossible.  For more information about Edward in Virginia, see my posts for date Sunday Nov 4.


Here is what I have in the notes for Abel Thomas:  Abel  

Abel and Mary Heaton seem to have been childless.  Abel’s will is helpful in determining who his siblings were as he references them in the bequests that he left for his nephews and nieces.

Will of Abel Thomas who dies in 1805 in Newberry County leaves to his brother (named Timothy) oldest Daughter, Sarah Thomas a bed.  This would not be MY Sarah Thomas as she would have been Sarah McKinsey by this date.

He leaves a bed to Elizabeth Coner.

Leaves estate divided between the children of Timothy Thomas, Isaac Thomas, Elizabeth Rankin, and Prudence Hawkins

Another researcher told me:
Abel Thomas' estate pays:
Edward Hawkins (Peter and Prudence's second son)
William Hawkins (P&P's third son)
Peter Hawkins (P&P's 4th son)
Elizabeth Hawkins (oldest daughter) Mrs Rankin
Prudence Hawkins (youngest child)  marries someone Dennis. 
JACOB IS NOT MENTIONED but  he marries about 1791.  Abel's will is dated 1805 and JACOB HAWKINS, TIMOTHY THOMAS SR AND SAMUEL GAUNT are executors.  Jacob's wife is Jane Ganter.  If German surname could be Gaunt or Gant and feminine would be Ganterin, shortened to Ganter.  But I believe she is Irish Quaker background and born in Camden, large Irish Quaker settlement and her father was George or maybe Wm.  William Ganter witnesses Peter's will in 1801.
In the 1850 census Jane Ganter Hawkins, age 80,  is listed as living with ELIZABETH THOMAS, age 57.  Newberry county.  A Michael Ganter, Quaker, is listed in Pine tree hill, Fredericksburg twp (Camden). Jane dies in 1854. 

Abel Married Mary Heaton 1758,6,24 at New Garden MM with documentation: 

Hinshaw Volume 1 page 577, New Garden MM, Guilford County, NC

1757,11,26 Abel recrq.
1758,6,24 Abel rmt Mary Heaton
1760,4,26 Abel and family rqct Fredericksburg MM., SC (cert withheld)

After their marriage I find the following in the New Garden MM abstracts in Hinshaw:

1764,9,29.  Abel dis mou. (long removed to South Carolina).  volume 1, page 577, New Garden MM, Guilford NC.  and 

1779,8,28 Abel, of Bush River, con his mou.” volume 1. page 577 New Garden MM, Guilford NC
1779, 9,25 Abel gct Bush River MM, SC.  vol 1 page 577, New Garden MM

I interpret this to be Abel seems to be the only Thomas who moves into New Garden in the time period.  Mary Thomas who had married John Hiatt while still in Frederick County, Va and was the daughter of Evan  Thomas of Opeckon, Frederick County, Va had moved there in 1744.  So perhaps Abel moved there because of them?  Or maybe he just had his eye on Mary Heaton.  The rmt tells us that they were not married in the Quaker church (as does the dis mou) as it says that they are reported married....


Here are the notes that I have for Timothy Thomas:

Named in Abel’s will as brother

Timothy’s birth and death dates are found on his cemetery stone. b. 8 Nov 1747 d. 12 Oct 1825

Timothy married Cassandra Clary.

Cassandra’s headstone says that she is Cassandra Clary, wife of Timothy Thomas, Sr. and her birth and death dates are said to be legible and give the dates that I have entered.  b. 17 Apr 1752  d. 13 Dec 1825.

Footnote says:  viewed June 2008.


Another researcher has told me:
She was born around 1750 or so based on son, Jacob's, dob in 1770 and based on census estimates in 1790, 1800 through 1820

 Prudence and Peter are married in Va or somewhere like NC before arriving in SC.

PETER HAWKINS came to 96 before Rev War. He was born in Va, married there, and
settled in the Stoney Hills of Newberry district. Children were: Edward, JACOB, Peter,
William, Prudence Dennis, Elizabeth Rankin. He died about 1800-1802. Jacob married
Jane Hunter (was Jane Ganter) and had children, George, Peter, Eliza, Sallie Young. from

In notes for Prudence's husband Peter Hawkins I have two items: I also

20 Oct 1795 Peter Hawkins swore an oath regarding set of titles transferred in 1774 from EDWARD THOMAS TO TIMOTHY THOMAS.  Recorded 2 Jan 1796

and information from Harriet Imrey:

The other person of interest would be Peter Hawkins, who petitioned for 150 acres "In South Carolina" on 2 Oct 1770.  He wasn't "with" anybody who settled where he did (Young's Fork of Bush River, Hilbern to west, McTeer to north, Israel Gaunt to east--latter tract purchased by Peter Hawkins so he was then adjacent to Edward and Timothy Thomas.  He was married to Prudence Thomas .... their first child Jacob was born ~1770 (per 1850 Newberry census).     His 1801 Newberry will is online at  He lists his two surviving daughters under their maiden names, but both were married by 1800 (even the will notes that they were living in different locations).  Prudence II (daughter of Peter and Prudence Thomas Hawkins) had married James Dennis; her sister Elizabeth Hawkins married John Rankin II, son of the John Rankin who'd arrived in 1767 with Edward and Nehemiah Thomas, and who'd sold his grant to Abel Thomas.  So who was the first Mrs. Rankin?  Abel Thomas named four primary heir-lines, including the children of his brothers Isaac and Timothy, those of his sister Prudence Thomas Hawkins, and the heirs of one "Elizabeth Rankin".  If he was trying to be systematic about that, sure sounds like the wife of John Rankin I must have been his sister Elizabeth Thomas!  (John Rankin II and wife Elizabeth Hawkins Rankin would have gotten a double portion, if first cousins who were nephew and niece, respectively, to Abel Thomas).  BTW, Peter and Prudence Thomas Hawkins named their second son Edward--from her side of the family, no doubt!

I also have a approximate date for the marriage of this couple of ca 1769 that I received from a Hawkins DNA participant who believes that he is descended from this couple.  

There is more information about this Thomas family on my Miami Homecoming blog site:


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  2. I am looking for proof that a William Philip Thomas 1809 Edgefield, SC married Mary Fowler, 2nd wife 1859 in Columbia Arkansas is son of Philip Thomas 1784 Edgefield SC married to Mary and is son of William M Thomas 1746 Laurens Co., SC married to Ankey Culpepper -----Do you know anyone who can help me?