Born on 26 Sep 1733 in Queen Anne's County, Maryland, Robert was the first child born to Stephen and Mary Clothier Thomas. He married on 13 Oct 1756 to Mary Sands (bk. 1, p. 61, Queen Anne's Co.).
On 24 Apr 1762, Robert received a grant for 150 acres east of the Pee Dee along the drains of Hitchcock's creek. A legatee of his grandfather's will, Robert returned to Maryland, where he was involved in land transactions arising after the death of his mother. On 2 Oct 1767, Stephen Thomas of Queen Anne's Co., planter, and son Robert sold 200 acres to William Cannon. Mentioning that his wife was since dead, Stephen also released to son Robert 80 acres of Hawkins Pharsalia that had been bequeathed by Tristram Thomas, Jr. Robert's wife signed this deed as witness to the transaction.Returning to North Carolina with son Robert, Stephen would live nearby on land above Blewett's falls.
On 18 Dec 1767, Robert Thomas purchased from Thomas Wade, more land along Hitchcock creek. Situated where the river fell from the piedmont to the coastal plain, this hilly region was made of rocks and red clay. Suited for gristmills and much of the period industry, the terrain along and northwest of the river was not the best choice for early farming. On Jan 3, and 4 Jan 1778, Robert sold two tracts of land on Hitchcock's Creek (K 412 and K 485, Anson). A farmer by trade, he moved to the southeast portion of the county (now Richmond), where he found sandy soil that was easier to work. On 3 Sep 1779, he received a grant for 300 acres on Panther Branch, and both a 100 and 640 acre grant for land east of the Gum Swamp along Deese's creek
During the early 1780's, Robert joined the migration of farmers that spread across the mostly uninhabited, but fertile plains of upper South Carolina. Though under the legal jurisdiction known as the "Georgetown District", early land transactions were recorded at Charleston. And since Charleston was under British control, few land transactions were recorded until the subsidence of the American Revolution, and after the 1785 formation of counties.
On 19 Mar 1788, Robert and Mary Thomas sold to William Easterling 100 acres crossing and below the dam on Beaver Dam creek (182, Mar. Co., S.C.). "Including the plantation whereon the said William Easterling now liveth", this deed in now Marlborough County stated the land had been conveyed to Robert Thomas on 24 Nov 1782.
From Henry Easterling and his wife Elizabeth (446, Mar. Co., S.C.), dated 4 Feb 1794, Robert purchased several tracts totaling 1017 acres. Situated about eight miles south of the present town of Tatum, the land included "the greater part of the plantation whereon the Sd. Robert Thomas now liveth on a pond called the Ocean".
Though a farmer by trade, Robert Thomas was instrumental in laying down a spiritual foundation for the generations to come. He was a respected Baptist preacher and founder of several churches. Traveling the region during the American Revolution, he preached to the troops and gave moral support to the cause. On 18 Apr 1807, William Beasley deeded one acre "including the meeting house called Daniel's Meeting house" to " Robert Thomas, minister, and James Bolton and John David, deacons of the Baptist Church of Christ called the Three Creek Church". Founded on 12 Oct 1793, the name was changed to Salem Baptist Church in 1822. Originally located on the Cashway road near the Pee Dee, the church is now located about six miles south of Bennetsville.
In a log church with a straw floor, Robert Thomas and William Bennett were the first to preach at Catfish Baptist Church. Located in neighboring Marion County, Catfish Baptist was founded in 1802.
While on a preaching tour, Robert Thomas died in 1816 at Britton's Neck, in Marion County. Mary had probably died earlier. Their Children were:
A. Tristram Thomas Named after his grandfather, Tristram was born 24 Aug 1756 in Queen Anne's County, Maryland. He died in 1761.
B. Elizabeth Thomas On 12 Dec 1759, Elizabeth was born in Maryland.
C. Nathan Thomas Born 22 Jul 1762, Nathan was known as "Gumfoot." Caused by a broken leg occurring when he jumped from a wagon, Nathan had to wear a cork bottom shoe. He married first on 3 Apr 1783 to Nancy Bingham. She was the daughter of Thomas Bingham. Inspired by the beauty of the land where they had settled, Nathan gave to it the name of Hebron. Six miles to the north of Hebron, on a hillside overlooking Beauty Spot bridge, Bishop Francis Asbury energized the emerging Methodist movement. Built on land where Asbury had preached, the Nathan Thomas family attended Beauty spot Methodist church.
Before her death ca. 1810,Nathan's wife, Nancy, gave birth to thirteen children before her death ca. 1810. They were:
1. Nathan B. Thomas b. 4 Oct 1785.
2. John P. Thomas b. 18 Dec 1787
3. Elizabeth Thomas b. 26 Apr 1797 d. 31 Jul 1825.
4. Lewis Thomas b. 11 Aug 1796.
5. Anna Thomas b. 9 Jan 1796.
6. Joel Thomas b. 25 Jul 1801.
7. Phillip Thomas b. 18 Feb 1805.
8. Celia S. Thomas b. 25 Jan 1808.
On 1 Jun 1811, Nathan remarried to Celia Stuart. Nathan and Celia did not have any children. They lived on the farm at Hebron until Nathan died on 27 Sep 1842. In 1848, Hebron Methodist Church was built less than 200 yards from where Nathan had lived, died, and was buried. Across from the church, and away from Bennettesville, the Nathan and Jesse cemetery is nearly gone except for several stones including that of his Granddaughter.
D. John Sands Thomas Born on 15 May 1834, John S. Thomas was named after his uncle John Thomas and also given his mother's maiden name of "Sands." He married to Elizabeth Bingham, the sister of his older brother's wife.
John S. Thomas was the Marlborough County Clerk of Court From 1804 to 1808. Due to an outbreak of yellow fever, on 14 Dec 1819, it was ordered that the courthouse of Marlborough County be moved from near the river. Situated on land along the Pee Dee, the old courthouse had been built on land deeded by John's uncle Tristram. Seeking the geographical center of the County, a State engineer chose land "upon the great road leading from Society Hill to Fayetteville in or near an old apple orchard on the land of John S. Thomas." On 4 Apr 1820, John S. Thomas deeded three acres for the courthouse, jail, and public square. His farm was laid off in lots and the town of Bennettesville was founded.
John S. Thomas died on 15 May 1834. The children of John and Elizabeth Bingham Thomas were:
1. Henry Thomas
2. Horace Thomas
3. Harriet E. Thomas
4. Ann Elizabeth Thomas
5. Julia Ann Thomas
6. Joseph P. Thomas
7. Lucinda S. Thomas married Jason McDaniel.
E. Robert H. Thomas Robert H. Thomas was born 26 Apr 1773. He married first to Covington /Dockery. Their children were:
1. John Thomas b. .
2. Elizabeth Thomas b. .
3. John Thomas b.
3. ???, who married Preston Covington.
F. William Thomas Born on 25 Jul 1777, William settled in the Brownsville community where he married first to Frances Magee. Frances was the youngest daughter of William Magee. Their children were:
1. James M. Thomas b. ,m married Pamelia Morrow.
2. Henry A. Thomas
3. Hartwell Ayer Thomas
4. Nathaniel Thomas, married first to Julia A. Thomas and second in Alabama.
5. Mary Ann Thomas married to Joseph M. Thomas
6. Elizabeth Thomas
7. Margaret Thomas married to John Covington.
8. Francis /Robert Thomas,
9. William Thomas
William married second to Eleanor Evans. Their children were:
1. Rev. James Alexander Williams Thomas b. 31 Dec 1822, married to Margarett Spears.
2. Benjamin R. Thomas b. 8 Feb 1825, married to Margaret J. Thomas.
3. Frances Jane Thomas b. 31 Mar 1827, married to Huger Adam.
4. David Evans Thomas b. 22 Jan 1830, married to Elizabeth Thomas.
5. Susan C. Thomas b. 27 Aug 1833, married to J. A. Thompson.
William Thomas died on 4 Oct 1835.
G. Eli Thomas Eli was born 21 Jan 1783. He married Fanny Dudley Harrison.
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