As passed on through the descendants of this family, a Tristram B. Thomas Bible records his birth date as 5 Mar 1787. Submitted by Lucy Getty, who is a grand daughter of Tristram B. Thomas, the record was translated by Vera Meek Wimberly as found in the Wimberly Family History. The same source indicates Tristram was born in Tennessee. Since the state was not formed until 1796, the use of place name "Tennessee" in the birth record is not correct as is now known. Was Trisram B. Thomas born in what is now Tennessee? Again, early records make it difficult to deny this claim. However, a different likelyhood is found in tracing the records of who we firmly believe to be the father of Tristram B. Thomas. Benjamin Thomas moved from Richmond County, North Carolina to Marlborough County, South Carolina in the early 1780's. As has already been shown, Benjamin Thomas is recorded through 1796 in census and court records of Marlborugh County, South Carolina. An obituary for Dr. Morgan Brown, states that he, Morgan Brown, moved to Tennessee in 1796. Based on known Thomas family interactions with Morgan Brown and implications of period court records, we believe Benjamin Thomas moved at the same time to Montgomery County Tennessee. In 1797, Benjamin Thomas appears as Commisioner of Palmyra and the first Capt. of the Montgomery County militia in the newly formed state of Tennessee. With this in mind, Tristram B. Thomas was likely born in Marlborough County, South Carolina prior to his families move to Tennessee.
Who was Tristram's mother? Land records in North Carolina and South Carolina indicate a close tie between Benjamin and the Bethea family. Though at this time there is no proof, these loosely linked records and the children's names hint at the possibility thatTristram's mother may have been a member of the Bethea family. More will be provided on this possibility as comes available.
Tristram B. Thomas first appears on record as signer of an 1806 petition in Montgomery County Tennessee. Authored by Dr. Morgan Brown, Tristram Thomas was signer # 23. He was followed by John Thomas #24, James #25 and Benjamin Thomas #29. Also on the petition is the name Simeon Bethea #35.
As lands opened up in the deep south, migrating settlers passed along old indian trails making way from Kentucky through Montgomery County, Tennesse, and beyond. Dickson County was created from the southern portion of Montgomery County, Tennessee. In 1807, Hickman County Tennessee was formed from the southern half of Dickson. While Benjamin's nephew Stephen settled in Dickson County, Benjamin, himself, settled on the banks of Duck River in Hickman County. On 29 Aug 1810, Tristram [B.] Thomas received a commission in Hickman County for service as Lieutenant in the cavalry of the 6th Brigade. In 1812, he received a second commission as lieutenant, but now for cavalry service in the 36th Regiment. There are no records of Trisrtam B. Thomas owning land in Hickamn County, Tennessee. However, in 1811, Tristram B. Thomas witnessed a 640-acre purchase made by his father. Notice the names of the other witnesses? These names will later appear in Louisiana, still interacting with the Thomas family.
Deed (A-19) Hickman TN. Dated 18 Jan 1811, Benjamin Thomas purchased a 640- acre tract that was originally granted to Joseph Motheral on 20 Dec 1791. The land included "both sides of Pine River a branch of the Duck River and including the mouth of Garners Creek". Witnesses were Tristram B. Thomas, Jacob Humble, and Joseph Wilson.
Tristram B. Thomas next appears in the 1820 Census of Covington County, Mississippi. He was listed as head of household with five males 26-44 years old. Also listed nearby in Covington County are second cousins John C. and William Thomas. Covington County would eventually be divided into Jones and then Jasper Counties. John C. Thomas was listed as Justice of Peace in all the divisions. In the 1820 census, Tristram's father and brothers Benjamin, Jesse, and James were listed in Pike County MS.
On 21 Jun 1821, Tristram B. Thomas married Mary Hill Brown. As will later be shown, the marriage was witnessed by Tristram's younger brother, Simeon B. Thomas. Tristram and Mary began making a family in Covington County as witnessed by the 1830 census: 2M5-, 1M5/10, 2M10/15, 1M20/30, 1M30/40 and 1F30/40. His brother Simeon and family are enumerated beside Tristram in the 1830 Covington County Census. Tristram B. Thomas was likely the census taker as his name is prominently written on the front cover of the census. To bolster this thought, the word Williamburg is written beside Tristram's name on the census. Williamsburg is the town where Tristram lived. The 1840 Mississippi census lists T. B. Thomas in next door Lawrence County. This is in conflict with family record as it is believed Tristram B. and brother Simeon moved to Caldwell Parish, Louisiana where they appear to be listed together in the household of Tristram B. Thomas in that 1840 census. Joseph Norwood Thomas, one of Simeon's sons stated in his Civil War Pension Application that his father moved to Caldwell Parish Lousina in 1838.
Tristram B. Thomas died on 10 Jul 1845 while living at the "Pine Hills" in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. Unlike every other state in our union, Louisiana holds to laws that are founded in its rich french heritage. In Louisiana, the probation of personal estates are known as "succession". The 1845 petition of succession for Tristram B. Thomas provides wonderful information. The widow Mary H. Brown Thomas resigns her right to administration to Simeon Thomas. As petitioner for administration, Simeon Thomas states he is the brother of the deceased Tristram B. Thomas, Esqr. The petition further names and provides the birth dates for the children of Tristram B. and Mary H. B. Thomas. Tristram had considerable wealth and the petition provided for proper appraisal of the estate.
Like his brother Benjamin Thomas, Junior, Tristram B. Thomas served in the War of 1812. Though living in Rankin County, Mississippi, Benjamin testified on behalf of the claim for Bounty Land filed by his deceased brother's widow. As follows, Benjamin wonderfully chronicles Tristram's life and war record:
The State of MississippiTristram B. Thomas's 55 year old widow provided the following testimony in Caldwell Parish on the 8th day of August A. D. 1855:
On this 23rd day of April AD 1855 Benjamin Thomas aged 59 years a resident of said county & state personally appeared before me Drew Fitzhugh Clerk of the Probate Court in and for Rankin County & State of Mississippi who being by me duly sworn according to Law on his Oath declares that he is the Brother of the identical Tristram B. Thomas who was Lieutenant in Captain James Craig's Company of Tennessee Militia in the Regiment Commanded by Col. Hammond in the War with Great Britain declared by the United States the 18th of June 1812. That said Tristram B. Thomas was drafted in the county of Hickman in the State of Tennessee and entered the service of the United States at Fayetteville in the State of Tennessee in the month of September AD 1814 for the Term of six months and continued in actual service in said war the full term of six months and was honorably discharged from said service on the 20th day of April AD 1815. That said Tristram B. Thomas is now dead. He makes this declaration for the benefit of Mary Thomas who survives said Tristram as his widow. This order that said Mary Thomas may may procure the Bounty Land to which her deceased husband would be entitled if now Living under the act of September 28th 1850. He also states that the said Benjamin Thjomas was himself in the same company & regiment, that he has therefore applied for & obtained a Land Warrant No. 852 for his services for Eighty acres.
.....She [Mary] further states that she was married to the said Tristram B. Thomas in the County of Covington in the State of Mississippi on the 27th day of June A. D. 1821 by one Joseph McLea, a Justice of the Peace. That her name before her said marriage was Mary H. Brown; that her said husband died at the Parish of Caldwell in the State of Louisiana on the 16th day of July A. D. 1845 and that she is now a widow.
She makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty land to which she may be entitled under the "act approved Marh 3rd 1855"
Mary (X) H. Thomas
Tristram B. Thomas was likely born 5 Mar 1787 in Marlborough County, South Carolina and died 16 Jul 1845 at Pine Hills, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana. He married Mary Hill Brown on 21 Jun 1821 in Covington County, Mississippi. The couple is likely buried at their home at Pine Hill. The children of Tristram B. Thomas and Mary Hill Brown Thomas are as follows:
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