As the time of the American Revolution drew near, most of the children of Stephen, Sr. moved from their early settlements along the banks of the Pee Dee. Robert, John, Lewis, Benjamin, James, and Stephen, Jr. all purchased land along the South Carolina border near the Quaker community of Piney Grove. Stephen, Jr. was eventually buried on Jones Creek in eastern Anson County near Hailey's Ferry. Preserving the right to "the ten feet square in the little orchard containing the grave yard of my parents", his son Stephen sold the land (R-61, Anson NC) on 19 Jan 1813 to William Evans. Tristram Thomas made his home in South Carolina in what became Marlborough County. William Thomas remained on his land along Cartledge Creek where he aspired to teach and eventually wrote the first known Almanack published in NC. Philemon sold his land (4-259, Anson) in 1783 and removed to South Carolina. I have yet to thoroughly research Philemon and any possible sisters. The following are Secretary of State Land Grants from the NC State Archives that illustrate a joint movement of part of this family. All of the land is located in what is now southern Richmond County.
Grant # 4029, Anson NC, to Lewis Thomas. Ent 30 Jan 1779, Sur 4 Feb 1779, Iss 3 Sep 1779. 200 acres west of the Gum Swamp on Bear Creek and adjoins John Thomas corner at Horsepen pasture. Chainers were Benjamin Thomas and James Thomas.
Grant # 4030, Anson NC, to Lewis Thomas. Ent 10 Feb 1779, Sur 10 Feb 1779, Iss (date unknown). 200 acres west of the Gum Swamp on Bear Creek and adjoining John Thomas land. Chainers were Benjamin Thomas and Lott Watson.
Grant # 4032, Anson NC, to John Thomas. Ent 30 Dec 1778, Sur 4 Feb 1779, Iss 3 Sep 1779. 250 acres on the west side of Gum Swamp adjoining Bear Creek, Horse Pen Meadow, and the land of George Graham. Chainers were John Mathews and John Thomas.
Grant # 4140, Anson NC, to John Thomas. Ent 10 Nov 1778, Sur 3 Feb 1779, Iss 3 Sep 1779. 200 acres situated on the West Side of Gum Swamp on Painter Creek near the Province line. Chainers were Benjamin Thomas and John Thomas.
Grant # 4075, Anson NC, to Benjamin Thomas. Ent 25 Jan 1779, Sur 4 Feb 1779, Iss 3 Sep 1779. 200 acres west of the Gum Swamp near a small pond. Chainers were James Thomas and Lott Watson.
Grant# 4170, Anson NC, to James Thomas. Ent. 12 Apr 1775, 4 Feb May 1779, Iss 30 Mar 1780. 150 acres west of Gum Swamp situated on Bear Creek and adjoining land of Lewis Thomas. Chainers were Benjamin Thomas and James Thomas.
Grant # 3961, Anson NC, to Robert Thomas. Ent 1 Dec 1779, Sur 2 Dec 1779, Iss 1 Mar 1780. 30 acres adjoins the Province Line and southwest of Panther Branch. Chainers were Nathan Thomas and Robert Thomas.
Grant # 4219, Anson NC, to Stephen Thomas, (Junior). Ent 16 Mar 1779, Sur 5 May 1779, Iss 30 Mar 1780. 150 acres on the West Side of Joe's Creek and situated on Panther Creek of the waters of the Great Beaver Dam. Adjoins the Province Line above survey of Robert Thomas. Chainers were Sion Odom and Jacob Baristine.
Grant # 4225, Anson NC, to John Thomas. Ent 12 Apr 1779, Sur 4 Feb May 1779, Iss 30 Mar 1780. 70 acres situated west of the Gum Swamp and east of Bear Creek near the edge of Horsepen meadow. Adjoins other John Thomas grant and includes a pond. Chainers were James Thomas and Benjamin Thomas.
Grant # 4230, Anson NC, to Lewis Thomas. Ent 10 Feb 1779, Sur 10 Feb 1779, Iss 30 Mar 1780. 200 acres situated on the West Side of the Gum Swamp on the East Bank of Bear Creek. The land adjoins John Thomas's 250-acre survey. Chainers were James Thomas and Lott Watson. It appears this is the same land as grant # 4030 above. There was no issuance date listed for grant # 4030.
Grant # 125, Richmond, to Benjamin Thomas. Ent 3 Jun 1787, Sur 28 Apr 1786, Iss 9 Aug 1787. 200 acres southeast of Gum Swamp on both sides of Crawford's Creek. The order of survey from David Love was for Lewis Thomas Benjamin Thomas. Chainers were Daniel Cammel and John McNear.
Grant # 578, Richmond, to Benjamin Thomas. Ent 20 Nov 1782, Sur 10 May 1793, Iss 27 Nov 1793. 100 acres west of Gum Swamp and east of Panther Creek. Adjoins Robert Thomas and includes part of Sneed's Pond. Chainers were John Thomas and John Covington.
Found at the North Carolina State Archives, and dated 21 Apr 1781, a Revolutionary war pay voucher in Richmond County reads as follows: "…I have purchased of Benjamin Thomas thirteen bushels of corn at the prices ascertained by Congress dated the 25 Feb 1780. Signatures on the backside of the stub are those of T. Gray, A. Rogers, John Mathews, and Thomas Mabry.
By 1782, James, Lewis, and John Thomas had already moved to the Quaker community in Guilford County. They were recorded in the minutes and birth/death records of New Garden and Deep River Monthly Meetings. The first to purchase land in Guilford County was Lewis Thomas. He bought 170 acres (3-20, Guilford NC) on 16 Aug 1783 from Peter King Jr. This land was situated on the Reedy Fork of the Haw River. Dated 1 Aug 1785, older brother John Thomas purchased 148 acres (4-32, Guilford NC) from Richard Haworth. The land adjoined that of Aaron Mendenhall and was situated on the Brushy Creek of the Reedy Fork of the Haw River. From the Guilford County Marriage Bond, James Thomas married Milly Clark 26 Mar 1785. Milly was a younger sister of Molly, who was the wife of James's brother John. Brother Lewis was the Bondsman. Dated 19 May 1786, James purchased 119 acres (4-123, Guilford NC) adjoining John Clark's millpond on the Reedy Fork of the Haw River. The land was purchased from Milly's parents, Francis and Christian Clark. In Quaker language, James wrote his Last Will and Testament in Guilford County on the "Sixteenth of the Ninth Month in the Year of Our Lord 1788". John, Lewis, and the remaining family of James Thomas moved back to the Pee Dee region in the early 1790's. Born of beliefs in the Quaker peace principles, an aversion to slavery encouraged them to join the early 1800's Quaker migration to Indiana.
Robert moved to now Marlboro County, South Carolina where he lived near Tatum on the banks of a Carolina bay lake known in land deeds as "The Ocean". It is believed that he toured Revolutionary War battle encampments and preached to the troops. A leader in the formation of several Baptist Churches in the region, Robert Thomas died in 1816 while on a preaching tour of Welch Neck.
Serving under Francis Marion, Major Tristram Thomas was about to become a hero in his capture of British troops at Hunt's Bluff. Built upon his military successes, Tristram gained wealth and became active in politics.
Dated 21 Dec 1785, Benjamin Thomas sold the above Grant #4075 to James Bennett, "who now liveth there". On the deed (B-388, Richmond NC), Benjamin was listed as a carpenter, living in Marlborough County, South Carolina. Witnesses were George Mathews, John Mathews, Samuel Covington, and Darrus Burren. No longer having family living nearby, Benjamin removed to Marlboro County where he was closer to Tristram and Robert.
Dated 2 Nov 1790, Benjamin Thomas, a planter of Marlborough County, sold Grant # 125 to Edward McNair (C-29, Richmond NC). Witnesses were John McNair and Jesse Bethea.
In South Carolina, early land transactions were recorded in Charleston. Since Charleston was a Tory stronghold, much of the land in South Carolina was not recorded until after the formation of county government in post-war 1785. I have not found any land owned by Benjamin Thomas in the State of South Carolina.
Tristram Thomas, a son of Stephen, Sr. owned much land on the opposite side of the Pee Dee River from the established town of Cheraw. Dated 1 Aug 1787, Tristram Thomas donated 2 acres of land (A -175, Marlborough SC) for the construction of the first courthouse and public buildings in Marlborough County. Known as Carlisle, the new county seat flourished until an outbreak of Yellow Fever led to its demise at the turn of the century. The name of Benjamin Thomas was recorded numerous times in the first book of the Marlborough County Court.
In the Sep 1789 term, it was "ordered that the County Treasurer do pay to Mr. Benjamin Thomas s 10 d 8 sterling for putting and detaining Sterling Brewer, in this county Goal six days".
Dated 6 Sep 1790, the Court "ordered that Benjamin Thomas be permitted to keep a tavern at the courthouse, and giving bond and complying to requesits". He was immediately ordered to pay a tax in order to fray the costs of building the Courthouse. In corn, p bar, pork, indigo, and prime copper; Benjamin paid the tax at the Dec 1790 session.
May 1793. "William Luke appeared in court and entered into bond with John Dyer and Benjamin Thomas securities for the Adm. of the estate of William Obryan dec'd…"
On Tuesday 4 Mar 1794, Peter Boyle, Samuel Councel, and Daniel Cottingham were ordered to be examined as to damage done to the courthouse the night before. Benjamin Thomas, Thomas Pearce, and George Cherry were bound as witnesses in behalf of the state against the above.
Sep 1794. "Benjamin Thomas vs. John Murdock. Settled at plaintiff's cost."
Mar 1796. It was "ordered that the sheriff do immediately collect the balance of the County tax laid in Oct 1793 and pay the same to Mr. Benj. Thomas and his attorney---and in case of default to issue executions. Ordered that the county be assessed one third part of the public tax for the year 1795, and the Sheriff do begin to collect the same by 1st January next…"
Did Tristram hire his brother Benjamin, a carpenter, to build the courthouse? Did Tristram provide his brother with the job of tavern keeper? Prior to 1785, did Benjamin receive land that was not properly recorded? Or, did he live at the tavern situated on his brother's land in the town of Carlisle?
In the 1790 Census, Benjamin Thomas of Cheraw District is listed as 3 males 16+, 3 males 16-, 3 females, and 1 slave. Marlborough County was recognized as being one of three counties in the Cheraw Legal District in 1790. The Census at this early date did not distinguish the relations of those residing at a given location. If any of the three listed male polls 16+ were children of Benjamin, then a contradiction would exist between accepted birth records and this census record. This is a point of doubt in proclaiming this Benjamin as the son of Stephen. The 1790 Census is the only one in which I have found a listing for this Benjamin Thomas.
Benjamin Thomas moves to Tennessee.
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