BENJAMIN THOMAS JR


Born ca. 1788, Benjamin Thomas, Jr. is the son of Benjamin Thomas of Anson County. He first appears in the 1810 Anson county census as m16/26 / f16/26. From this record, we know that Benjamin married shortly before 1810. It has been believed that Benjamin first married Rebecca Tolson. Searching related legal records and the findings of others, there seems to be no proof of this union. Baucom family history is also built upon the possibility that Willie Baucom married a Rebecca Tolson. Though Willie names wife Rebbeca in his will, undeniable proof for this union also avoids legal record. To complicate this story, it is proven that a son of Benjamin Jr. and first wife married a daughter of Willie Baucom.

Past family history claims that Benjamin Thomas Senior married Melinda, the daughter of William Gurley. Using the division of the deceased William Gurley's land as proof, the record falls short in that it does not positively link to Benjamin Thomas Senior. The name of "Benjamin" or "Thomas" is not mentioned in William Gurley's 1804 will, but is listed in the 1815 division of lands.

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William Gurley wrote his last will and testament which was probated in Oct 1804 Anson County NC. In the record, William began with bequeathments to his three older daughters. Giving them items already in their possession, these daughters were likely of mature age and married. William Gurley then spelled out wishes for his sons. Lastly, he bequeathed land and items to two more daughters. Since they were not named as "older", these daughters were probably young and/or single. They appear in the will as:

Item -I gave and bequeath to my Daughter Darcass one Negro man called Tom one three year old heffer one two year old mair one feather bed formerly called hers together with the stead and furniture one Wheels one Dish one bacon two plaits three Delph plaits one Iron pot two weavers slays also five hundred acres of Land Lying together on the Bair branch and the Shipmons branch which sd Land I will to be Equally devided between sd Daughters Darkess and Ferrabee

Item -I gave and bequeath to Daughter Ferrabee one Negro man called Jack one Mare Coalt one Cow and Calf twelve geese one cotton wheel and Cards one small dish and large bacon one puter plate three Delph plaits one Dutch oven two weavers slay also two hundred and fifty Acres of Land above mentioned one Cow hide

If Ferrabee and Dorcass were indeed single when the will was written, then in the 1800 census, William Gurley should be shown with two young daughters. However, for some reason, William Gurley Senior was not listed in the 1800 census. Since he died a few years after the census was taken, William may have been ill or injured and living with a child or neighbor.

Benjamin Thomas, Senior owned land on both sides of Richardson's near where present day Pleasant Hill Church Road crosses the creek. His lands adjoined that of Jacob, the brother of William Gurley above. Both Jacob Gurley and Benjamin Thomas bought land on Richardson's Creek from Gideon Green. Further land acquisitions seemed to only expand those lands where Benjamin lived. He did not own any land on the banks of the Rocky River. On the other hand, in 1815, Benjamin Thomas Junior began acquiring land along the Rocky River. But first, and in that same year, a commission set forth to divide the estate lands of William Gurley. Apparently the will had been broken or events somehow demanded the services of the court ordered commission in settling the estate. Dated Jul 1815, Benjamin Thomas drew lot #6 beginning at:

a stake by two red oaks and a post oak in the 3rd line of sd. Tract and runs with said line S. 25 E. 143 poles then No. 65 E. 116 poles to a corner then No. 25 W. 143 poles then to the beginning.
Drury Austin drew lot #5. He received two tracts. One of the tracts was 70 acres of a larger 200-acre tract. The written division implied that Benjamin Thomas received the other 130 acres of this same 200-acre tract. The accompanying plat confirms this assumption. The record did not establish whether this was Benjamin Junior or Senior. Believing this to be Benjamin Thomas Junior, the lands aquired in the division represent the earliest known land which he owned. In confirmation, the 1815 tax list for Anson County survives and lists only one Benjamin Thomas, owning 430 acres of land. We know that Benjamin Thomas Sr. owned land in access of 450 acres. If the tax list were taken prior to the above division, then Benjamin Thomas Jr. would appear as owning no land. Also, if this is true, then the lands of William Gurley deceased should appear in the tax list. The list names two Williams and one William Sr., likely representing the estate of william Gurley Sr, and William (son of William) and William (son of Jacob). I have not yet been able to glean anything from that record.

Two months after William Gurley's land was divided, son Willis sold his share of the estate to Benjamin Thomas [Jr]. Legally described to be the same as Lot # 2 in the division, Willis Gurley sold "80..." of land on the Rocky River (R-90, Anson NC). Witnesses were Benjamin Jr's brothers Ezekiel and Anias Thomas. Like brother William, Henry Gurley also sold his share of the estate to Benjamin Thomas Jr. Matching the description of Lot #1 in the estate, Henry Gurley of now Haywood County NC sold 80 acres (S-168, Anson NC) on the Rocky River. This transaction occurred 27 May 1817 and was entered into record in July 1818. Witnesses were John and Jac. Austin. Note that in the divison, the plat shows this land adjoining that of the above Willis Gurley Jr.

On 11 Oct 1818, Benjamin Thomas, Jr sold 130 acres (_-152, Anson NC) to William Morris, of Mecklenburg NC. The legal description matches that of Lot #6 as drawn in the 1815 estate division of William Gurley. The deed further locates the land as lying on Bear Branch. It then confirms the 130 acres of land adjoined that of Drury Austin and was part of a two hundred acre tract granted to William Gurley on 28 Nov 1801. Witnesses to this transaction were Anias Thomas and Jas. Morris. Locating the original Willam Gurley Grant (5043, Anson NC), the warrant for survey describes the land as lying between Bair and Shipmon's Branch. The 12 Sep 1797 survey only mentions Bear Branch. Chain bearers were Leonard Musslewhite and Willis Gurley.

There is no record of Benjamin Thomas Senior receiving this land. He could have received it as a rightful heir in 1815 and then given it to son Benjamin who in turn sold it in 1818. After seeing this record in relation to the will, estate division, deeds, and the census; it is hard not to doubt that possibility. It is easier to invision Benjamin Thomas Jr. as related to the Gurley family through marriage. If so, he married prior to the 1810 census to a daughter of William Gurley. He had to have married one of the younger daughters, being either Dorcass or Perrabee. In confirmation, remember that it was William Gurley's expressed desire that his land between Bear and Shipmon branches be divided between daughters Pherrabee and Dorcass? As per this deed from Benjamin Thomas to William Morris, we know that William Gurley's wishes were met. The 130 acres of land which Benjamin received was indeed situated between Bear Creek and Shipmon's Branch. The commissioners respected the wishes of William Gurley as written in the will.

Who was William Morris? The book History and Genealogy of the Nance Family states that a William Morris married first Pherabee, the daugher of William and Millinder Gurley. Pherabee died just prior to 1800 and William Morris married second Patsy Nance Maske, whose first husband William Maske had also died. The book also mentions that the Gurley's lived on the mouth of Shipmon's branch. Knowing that William Gurley mentioned daugther Pherabee in his 1804 will, the scenario as outlined in the Nance book does not seem to be possible. Looking at other records pertaining to this elder William Morris, two land grants and their eventual sale provides valuable infromation. Issued 22 Jun 1772, William Morris received a land grant in Anson County for 100 acres on the Rocky Fork of Hichcock's Branch. Adjoining lands of William Legget, the grant was surveyed 20 Mar 1772. Chainbearers were Jacob and Joseph Morris. Situated in now southern Richmond County, on 19 May 1774, William Morris Junior and wife "Pherabee" sold the land(K-409, Anson NC) to Nathaniel Williams. The transaction was witnessed by Jonathan Lewalling and Thos. Mayer. William Morris received another land grant, entered 24 May 1773 and issued 23 Jul 1774. Surveyed on 10 Jul 1773, this land represented "one hundred acres of land in Anson County on the Bair Branch...." The warrant for survey goes further, saying: "lying on Bair Branch near catfish road and running up the creek for compliment." Dated 2 Jan 1776, William Morris and wife "Pherebee" sold this land grant to Laughlin Curry. The transaction was witnessed by Robert Webb and Anguish Curry. This William Morris also owned land on Brown Creek and on Cribbs Creek adjoining that of Thomas Preslar and Robertson Pistole. So, it appears William Morris of now Richmond county is the same as the one who owned land on the Rocky River. Note that he was known in 1774 as William Morris "Junior."

Since Gurley family history says William Gurley was born ca. 1848, could this William Gurley have had a daughter who was described in the 1774 deed as being married to William Morris? Like William Gurley, William Morris wrote a last will and testament in 1804. Written on 2 Jan 1804, the will was probated in Jan 1804 Anson County. The testament lists wife Patsy Morris and older children Nathan Morris, Jeptha Morris, Molly Yarborough, Betsy Henby, Fanny Beverly, and Lydia Pistole. Implying children born of present wife Patsy, William then names "youngest" children William Airly Morris and Patsy Morris. If William Morris married a daughter of William gurley, could she have given birth to the older children? Looking at the number of children and their involvement in land transactions, there is no way that a younger daughter of William Gurley could possibly be the mother of William Morris's older children. However, there is an out. The name of Pherabee is used several times in other Gurley wills. Could she have been a sister or cousin to William Gurley? Knowing that William Morris owned land on Hichcock's Creek, I have great doubts as to this likelyhood.

Lets look back at the 1818 transaction between Benjamin Thomas Junior and William Morris. Note that William Morris is from Mecklenburg County. There was a William Morris in Mecklenburg who also left a will in 1804. Yet another Morris line, I do not believe this William was immediately related. William Morris who left an 1804 will in Anson County mentioned his Chickapin plantation. Situated in now north western Union County, Chinckapin would have fallen on the Mecklenburg line prior to the 1842 formation of Union County. The transaction between Benjamin Thomas Junior and William Morris was witnessed by James Morris and Anias Thomas. The William Morris who died ca. 1804 did not have a son named James. However, this William's son named William Airley Morris did have a son James who was born ca. 1800. I believe Benjamin Thomas Junior sold his share of the William Gurley estate to William Airley Morris, the son of the William Morris who died in 1804. What's more, this land was very near that originally granted to William Morris in 1774. So, why did William A. Morris seek to acquire this land? Was it merely a purchase, or was this an effort to regain memories or benifits found in or near his father's early land holding? And, are my thoughts correct?

Who did Benjamin Thomas Junior marry?

We know that Benjamin Thomas Jr. married just prior to the 1810 Anson County census. From later conveyances of the 1815 William Gurley estate division, we know that Benjamin Jr. married a daughter of William Gurley. In the earlier 1804 will of William Gurley, we know he likely married either Dorcass or Pherabee Gurley. Which daughter did Benjamin Thomas Jr. marry? Benjamin Thomas Jr. had a son named Jacob who was born ca. 1811 by Benjaminís first wife. Jacob knew his mother. She appeared in the 1820 census and likely died just before the 1830 census. Looking at the life of Jacob Thomas, can we learn anything about the identity of his mother?

On 22 Jan 1835, Benjamin Thomas Jr. conveyed a gift deed (Z-136, Anson NC) to son Jacob. The 200 acres of land was situated on the Rocky River near where William Gurley once lived. From later census and deed records, it is known that Jacob lived on this land where he worked to build a mill. Benjamin Thomas mentioned son Jacob in his 1839 last will and testament. In 1836, Willie Baucom also wrote a last will and testament mentioning daughter Elizabeth Thomas. From lthe 1850 Union County census and the death certificate of son Jacob, we know that Jacob married Elizabeth Baucom, the daughter of Willie. In later censusís Elizabeth was listed as a weaver. Was she using the loom bequeathed to Jacobís mother? Letís look at the children of Jacob Thomas, son of Benjamin Jr:

A. Louisa Thomas b. 1833
B. Sarah Thomas b. 1835
C. William Thomas b. 1837 named for Elizabethís father?
D. David Thomas b. 1841 named for Jacobís cousin or uncle?
E. Rebecca Jane Thomas b. 1841 named for Jacobís grandmother Rebecca Thomas and also Elizabeth's mother?
F. Dorcas Thomas b. 1847 named for Jacobís mother?
G. Margaret Thomas b. 1851
H. Mary Catherine Thomas b. 1852
I. Jacob Thomas b. 1853 named for Jacob, son of Benjamin Jr?

Looking at the child named Dorcass, could she be named for Jacobís mother? If Benjamin Thomas Jr. married Dorcass Gurley, then it makes sense their son would have a daughter named Dorcass. However, there is another possibility. After the death of Benjaminís first wife, he married second in 1832 to Elizabeth Brown Traywick. Elizabethís mother was Dorcass Hyatt who married first Berrymon Traywick and second Leonard Musslewhite. Jacobís daughter could be named for Jacobís mother-in-law.


Wyatt Nance was a friend and Justice of Peace. Though many of the early marriage bonds in Anson County have been lost, several marriage bonds were found in a desk that once belonged to Wyatt. One of these included the 6 Oct 1832 bond in which "Benjamin Thomas and Betsy Traywick were autherised to Selebrate and solomize the right of matrimony." Born 26 Dec 1817, Elizabeth Brown Traywick is the daughter of Berryman and Dorcas Hyatt Traywick. Benjamin and Betsy Traywick Thomas had one son named Jesse Green Thomas.

Dated 22 Jan 1835, being the same year as his death, Benjamin Thomas deeded land (Z-136, Anson) to his son Jacob. "For the Love and affection which I bear towards my son Jacob Thomas," Benjamin deeded 200 acres along the south side of the Rocky River. Being part of two tracts, the land adjoined another 300-acre tract. Benjamin and witness, John McCollum, signed the deed. This could not be Benjamin Thomas Senior, as it is known that he died on 1 Jan 1833.

Written on 10 Dec 1835 and probated January 1836, Benjamin Thomas wrote his Last Will and Testament. He clearly mentioned his wife Betsy and son Jesse Green. For many years, family researchers have overlooked the subtlety in which Benjamin mentioned his son Jacob. Written as follows: "Also I want Mathew sold and Jesse to have two hundred dollars of the money and the rest I leave to Jacob Thomas and last I Constitute and appoint my Brother Jacob Thomas and Wyatt Nance my Executors." It has always been considered that the two Jacob's were the same person. Instead, Benjamin left the remaining unnamed portion of the estate to his son Jacob and he appointed his brother Jacob as executor. Benjamin's brother Ezekial also signed as witness to the will.

In the 1835 last will and testament written by Benjamin Jr., he set aside 265 acres to be sold by his named executors Wyatt Nance and brother Jacob Thomas. In the Jan 1838 Anson County Pleas and Quarter Appearance Docket, the following record likely relates:


Wyatt Nance &               May 21 1837 service ack. & judged _____
Jacob Thomas                by the debts for ninety dollars        
                    levy    ___ land from the 3rd Feb last.   
    VS.              on 
                    land    Nov 24 1837  To any Lawful officer to 
Charles Hinson &            execute the goods & chattels lands and 
John A. Nance               tennants or so much therof as will
                            satisfy the above Jurat & cost make 
ordered that the            agreeable returned by law
plff have leave          
to withdraw his             Dec 9 1837  No goods found I served on
papers the three suits      the defendant's land containing 265 acres

Within the same year, in the October 1838 Anson County Pleas and Quarter Appearance Docket, "Betsy Thomas and others" filed suit against "Jacob Thomas and Wyatt Thomas, Exe." "Wyatt Thomas" is a mistake as we know Wyatt Nance was co-executor. In this record, Elizabeth or "Betsy" Thomas petitioned the court for partition of land. Keep in mind that Benjamin Jr. demanded the sale of all land for the benifit and education of his children. Betsy Thomas was likely seeking her rightful widow's dower. There are no deeds indicating the outcome of this legal action.

Following the death of Benjamin Thomas, Elizabeth married second Edmond Kiker. Edmond and Elizabeth had the following children (A) Catherine Kiker; (B) Martha Ann Kiker; (C) Henry Kiker; and (D) Melvina Kiker. Edmond Kiker wrote his Last Will and Testament on 31 Dec 1850 and died later on 26 May 1853. The will was probated in Union County at the July Term 1855 Session of Pleas and Quaters. Edmond mentioned his step-son Jesse Green Thomas and hoped that he would remain with his mother for the benefit of the family. Jesse later died while serving in the Civil War. Soon after, Elizabeth Traywick Thomas Kiker lost her mother Dorcas Musslewhite. Remember that Dorcas Hyatt married first Berrymon Traywick and second Leonard Musslewhite. Dorcas Musslewhite mentioned her widowed daughter Elizabeth Kiker in her 1861 Last Will and Testament.

Elizabeth married third on 1 Jan 1863 to the widower Joseph H. Woodward b. 1812. Dated 1 Jan 1863, and prior to their intended marriage, Joseph H. Woodward and Elizabeth B. Kiker filed a marriage contract (6-251, Union). Each wanted their earlier born children to receive rightful inheritance of real properties brought to the marriage. Since Jesse Green Thomas died in Oct 1862 while serving in the civil war, Elizabeth was thinking of her children by Edmond Kiker. Elizabeth Woodward died 18 Sep 1888 and is buried at Fountain Hill Baptist Church in Anson County NC. Her grave is marked with a wonderfully carved slate marker. Joseph died in 1891 and is buried at the Woodard Family Cemetery.


Jacob Thomas
Jesse Green Thomas



Documents and Other Information Related to Benjamin Thomas Jr.

The Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Thomas Jr.
The Last Will and Testament of Edmond Kiker



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