The Life Story of John Thomas
from Chatham County NC to Anson County NC

The following records set a stage portraying a migration from VA through Chatham County NC before ending up in Anson county NC. Since some records for the John Thomas family indicate they were from VA, it is possible that he was apart of the same migration … In 1764, a John Morton Jr. of Amelia County VA purchased 155 acres on Rocky Run in Brunswick County VA from John Gunter and wife Priscilla (Brunswick VA, 8-136). Witnesses to this deed were William and Jesse Morton. And later, in 1771, John Morton of Brunswick County VA purchased land (Chatham NC, A-23) from William Brown of Amelia County VA. The land was situated on Berry’s corner in Chatham County NC. Joel Morton witnessed the transaction. Joel Morton would later buy land in Anson County NC in 1787. That deed was witnessed by Issac Brumbelow.

Dated 5 Mar 1773, John Morton wrote his last will and testament in Chatham County NC. In the will, he bequeaths the land lying between “John Morton Sr’s line” and Stephen Poe’s Creek to his beloved wife “Ruth Morton during her widowhood and after her death divide it equal amongst my children.” The will was witnessed by Pretymon Berry and John Berry. Co-executors were John and Richard Gunter. How awful …a will that has surived so many years and yet not name the heirs! On the same day that the will was written, John Morton Jr, and wife Ruth sold 30 acres to John Morton Sr. Part of a tract purchased from Lord Granville’s agent, the land joins Stephen Poe’s branch, etc. and including the plantation where the said Morton now lives. Signed by John and Ruth Morton, the deed was witnessed by Stephn Poe and Richard Gunter.

On 26 Oct 1774, Richard Gunter, an executor of John Morton’s last will and testament sold 100 acres on the south side of Haw River to Robert Patterson, being the plantation where said Gunter lives. Signed by Richard and wife Elizabeth Gunter, the deed was witnessed by James Patterson, Even (X) Thomas and John (X) Gunter Sr. To be discussed in depth later, this deed may provide a glimpse into a possible connection between the families of John and Evan Thomas who later removed to Anson County NC.

Another record that shows community working together appears in the 11 Nov 1777 court order in which “William Cain, Prettiman Berry, John Thomas, and George Dismukes are appointed patrolers in Capt. Clarks district the ensuing year”. This too will later be used to link records from Anson County NC to Chatham.

The omission of heirs in John Morton’s Last Will and Testament was corrected by way of a Chatham County deed dated 13 Nov 1784. John Crawford, planter deeded to James Massey a Planter a certain tract of land containing over 100 acres lying on Haw River on the south side joining John Thomas, William Poe, James Howard, and William Howard. Whereas John Morton of the county being entitled to a fee simple estate, he the sd. John Morton by his last will and testament made some years ago divided the same to his wife Ruth during her widowhood or Marriage and after marriage or decease, to go to her children “John, William, Polly, and Betsey” and their heirs. And whereas after the making of the said will, the said John Morton departed this life and his daughter Polly hath since intermarried with the said John Crawford who is agreeable to the said will entitled to the reversion of one fourth part of the before described premises and that the said John Crawford hath agreed to sell all his right title and interest of in and unto the same unto the said James Massey. Wit: Stephen Neal, Prettyman Berry, Bern’d McGuckin.

The above records places John Thomas as living in ca. 1780 Chatham County and owning land beside John Morton Jr. Dated 20 Aug 1779, Jno. Thomas received Secretary of State Land Grant for 159 acres in Chatham County. The warrant was for land “Beginning in William Poe’s line running south to a red oak, then east to Haw River and up the said river to the Widow Morton’s line and along the said line to the first station for completion.” The survey further identifies a line of the survey as starting at a White Oak on the south side of the Cain Island Creek, the east to an elm on the Haw.” Chain bearers for the survey were Thomas Bullins and Stephen Straughn.

In February of 1784, John Thomas appeared in Chatham County court to prove a deed from William Brown to Edward Brumbelow. Is this the same William from earlier in Amelia County who sold land to John Morton?

Going back to the late 1770’s prior to the Revolutionary War’s southern campaign heated up, on 12 May 1778 Ansell Melton was appointed ( in Chatham County Court) Guardian to Jesse Brown & Ambrose Brown, he having given bond with Robert Patterson and John Thomas in £100, each Guardianship. Why did John Thomas pay Guardian Bond? Later, on 3 Jan 1786, John Thomas of Chatham and wife Elizabeth sold 100 acres to John Ferrington. The land was located on Sugar Tree Branch on the waters of Haw River. Signed John (X) Thomas and Elizabeth (X) Thomas, witnesses were Daniel Burnett, James Powell, and Abner Brown. A year later, on 1 May 1787, Ambrose Brown also sold 150 acres to John Ferrington. This land adjoined Brown’s old line and that of Jessey Brown. Witness to the deed was John Ramsey.

As written on 28 Dec 1797, “To all Christian People to whom these presents shall come, I John Thomas of the state of North Carolina and Chatham County …to John Hatley. Being 225 acres joining William Poe, Straughn’s line, to Haw River to Martin’s old line at the mouth of Poe’s Creek, up the branch and around Poe’s lines to the beginning. Signed by John (X) Thomas and wife Elizabeth (X) Thomas, the deed was witnessed by Thomas (X) Bullard. Prv’d Feb. 1798.

Dated 13 Feb 1799, Evan Thomas and Mary Thomas sold 100 (K-361, Chatham NC) acres to John Thomas. Situated on Stinking Creek and adjoining the lands of “Zachariah Harman, Wm. Dillard, and Jas. Petty land and land of sd. E. Thomas .. the metes and begins on the bank of Stinking Creek (running up the drain and east coast) to old line a north coast, then along sd. line and west coast to Willis Dillard’s and Jas Petty’s line to spring branch, then down said branch to the beginning. Wit: Jas. Petty. Prv’d Feb 1799. On 15 May 1799, Mary Thomas of Chatham sold 300 acres (L-73, Chatham NC) to David Passemore. “Being part of the old tract of land belonging to the Old Evan Thomas,” the land adjoined Jas. Petty and John Thomas on the Spring Branch of Little Creek on Stinking creek, and down the creek to William Petty’s, and to the old road. Wit: Thomas Brinkly, Lewis Brinkly. Prv’d May 1800. And then on 30 Sep 1799, Evan and Mary Thomas sold another 100 acre tract to John Thomas (K-362, Chatham NC). The land was situated on Little Creek and adjoined Jas. Petty’s land. Wit: Jas Petty.

About the same time as the deed above, on 8 May 1804, James Howard, the high sheriff of Chatham County sold land (0-394, Chatham) to Bartholomew Lightfoot. Whereas “Skurlock and Henderson lately before a single justice obtained judgment against John Thomas for the sum of one pound, fifteen shillings and the further sum of eighty shillings to cover constables costs making in the whole the sum of two pounds three shillings and an execution having issued by John Hackney Constable. “No goods or chattels were found and levied on 10 acres on the waters of Stinking Creek adjoining the lands of James Petty and others executed 16 Oct 1802.”

The Move to Anson County NC

Dated 5 Aug 1795, John W. Thomas received Secretary of State land grant #5177 for 100 acres on Mill Creek in Upper Anson County. Chain Bearers were John Sides and Isaac Brumbelow. Isaac may be the son of the Edward Brumbelow for whom John Thomas witnessed a land transation in 1784 Chatham County. The Brumbelow family also has ties to the Morton family in Chatham/Orange County NC. Dated 19 Oct 1798, John William Thomas received a 50 acres on School House branch. The land adjoined his own and included the school house. Chain bearers for this grant were John Will. Thjomas and John Thomas. Question. If this is the John Thomas who was in 1770’s Chatham County, from this record do we now know his middle name? And does this record introduce us to a son of same name? Some family histories show that John William Thomas married Miriam Medcalf. It would appear that John William Thomas Jr. married Miriam. Also, remember back in Chatham County that John(X)Thomas and wife Elizabeth(X)Thomas signed a deed. And even though they could not write, what good parents these would be to have a school house located on their land.

Dated 8 Jan 1800, John Thomas and Isaac Brumbelow sold to John Medcalf two tracts. The first tract by Thomas was 100 acres on Meadow Branch of Richardson’s Creek, the land joined Wade. The second tract by Brumbelow was for 50 acres on Meadow Creek.

On 26 Feb 1800, William Johnston and William Cupples by their attorney John Wright Jr. sold 150 acres to John Thomas. Located on Mill Creek, the land adjoined that of Isaac and Edward Brumbelow. Witnesses were Daniel Coburn and Sam Duffey. Note that Wiliam Johnston and William Cupples were land speculators from Cumberland County NC.

Dated 4 Mar 1814, John W. Thomas received a land grant for 100 joining his own lines at Cuthbertson’s corner. Chain bearers were John Helms and Morton Thomas.

Much later, John W. Thomas received land grant # 6902 in Anson County on 4 Feb 1831.Situated on the west side of Richardsons Creek on Mill Creek, the tract adjoined Roberts land. Chain bearers were John and Millenium Lawson. And then in 1832, William Brumbelow sold 25 acres to John Wm. Thomas. Situated on the north side of Richardsons Creek, the land adjoined William Metcalf and William Phillips. Wintesses were John Thomas and William Morton. On 22 Nov 1833, John Thomas sold 464 acres of land on the north west side of Richardson Creek on Mill Creek lying a little below the mouth of School House Branch. The tract adjoined that of David Tomberlin, Presson, Sussannah Roberts, Cuthbertson, and Price lands. The transaction was witnessed by M. W. Cuthberton and J. Cuthbertson.

Service to Our Country

Dated 2 November 1830, The following petition arising in Anson County was presented for consideration by the North Carolina General Assembly. The petition reads:

To the honoruable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina.
Your petitioner humbly showeth that he is now nearly four score years old, that he has no way of support for himself & his (aged wife borne down by a grievous complaint) but by hard labour, your petitioner while health and strength permitted did not wish to be burdensome to his beloved country, but hearing that your charity has been bestowed on others who served in the Revolutionary War, I am therefore emboldened to come forward with my petition as one of that number. I was drafted in Chatham County for three months the date of the year or month I do not recollect, we rendezvoused at Hillsborough, James Herron Cpt, Roger Griffith Leut., George Herron Ensign, from thence we marched to Salisbury & fell under the command of Col. Lytell & from thence to Charleston South Carolina & fell under the command of General Lincoln’s & was discharged a little while before Charleston was taken by the enemy. Immediately after my return home, I was drafted again, to against the body of Scots that had combined together, but not being in circumstance to leave home I was compelled to hire a man which I did at the price of twenty seven pounds good money. Besides several scouts after the Torys when Cornwallis passed though our country, this is as nearly as I can recollect the amount of service that your petitioner rendered to his country.

John Thomas Sen’r

D. C. Cuthbertson witnessed, providing the following deposition: I hearby certify that I have been living near neighbor to John Thomas Sr. for about thirty years & that I have at different times heard him relating his services in time of the war & the many difficulties that he had to encounter I also certify that he is in suffering circumstances at the present & is truly an object of commiseration. He is an honest, industrious, & peaceable a citizen as any in our country Certified by me & as many others as find freedom to sighn to the whooe or part of these contents.


Personaly appeared before me Nathan B. Jenkins Esqr., Moses Stegall & Rebeckah Elizabeth his wife 7 made oath that they were well knowing to the time & the service of John Thomas of three months as mentioned in the petition.


It is said that John William Thomas had sons Joel, Balaam, Morton, and John W. Jr, Was Joel named for Joel Morton? And who do you think Morton Thomas was named for? But are all the children those of John Sr. or could some be the children of a John Thomas Jr?

Possible father of John Thomas

Evan Thomas


Chatham County
Union County (where John Thomas lived)