Isaac Jones homestead (1837-1851) Calloway County, KY

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Flat Creek, Williamson County, TN (1827-1837).....Part 1

Williamson County, Tennessee was the place to be in 1827. Up until the outbreak of the Civil War, Williamson County held the honor of being the third wealthiest county in the state of Tennessee. Established in 1799, the area was settled primarily by individuals making claims on land grants awarded for service in the Revolutionary War. Positioned not too far to the south of the city of Nashville, the county had gained a reputation by establishing several prestigious private academies of which the towns of Franklin and Triune were particularly known for. Bethania's older brother Major John Bostick, who had fought in the Revolution and served as a Stokes County representative in the North Carolina House of Commons off and on between the years 1801 and 1806, had moved to Triune in 1809 and is buried there in the Bostick Family Cemetery.

Isaac and Bethania decided to settle in the southeastern portion of the county along the waters of Flat Creek, purchasing 150 acres that straddled the Williamson County and Maury County line for $750. This initial purchase was finalized in a deed dated August 2, 1828 between Isaac Jones and James Reid. Despite the date on the deed, county tax records for the proceeding year show Isaac being taxed for the same amount of acreage on Flat Creek, along with three slaves, indicating he had taken ownership of the land at some point in 1827. The piece of land was originally part of a state grant as indicated by tax records showing 40 of the 150 acres being set aside for a school, a standard practice for land grants given out in Tennessee and North Carolina. As I had discussed earlier, the land lay adjacent to David Gillespie and the deed was witnessed by John Allison, two earlier transplants from Rowan County. To the south of Isaac's land where it crossed over into Maury County lived the widow Kesiah Morris and her family. Her husband James Morris had died in 1826, leaving his estate to her. It would appear that the Morris family were fellow Methodists based on the fact that Isaac Jones performed the marriage for Kesiah's daughter Lucinda, when she married Edward A. Morris on September 19, 1833 in Maury County.

Unfortunately, at some point prior to 1833, Isaac's second wife Bethania passes away. As with his first wife, Bethania's grave has yet to be located. Possible locations would naturally include the Bostick Family Cemetery located on her brother John's land near Triune, or possibly in the nearby Moses Steele Cemetery where many local notables like David Gillespie are buried. Moses Steele was originally from Mecklenburg
County, Noth Carolina and had purchased 225 acres that were originally part of David's father Thomas Gillespie's 4000 acre land grant in the area. Recent surveys of the cemetery indicate there are at least 50 graves marked with unmarked field stones and an additional 96 graves without markers at all making this an undesirable, yet likely location.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hunting Creek, Surry County, NC (1801-1827).....Part 3

North Little Hunting Creek area, Yadkin Co., NC
(vicinity of Isaac Jones' homestead)

Beginning on April 28, 1821 with a small sale of eleven and a half acres to his neighbor Daniel Brown, Isaac would begin to sell off all his land in Surry County along Hunting Creek. This initial land sale was witnessed by Matthew Sparks and Isaac's son Willie (Wiley) Jones. This is very likely the beginning of Isaac's preparation towards migrating westward. Two years prior in 1819, his sons Thomas and Burrel had left for Warren County, TN along with their sister Alvina and her husband Bowen Whitlock. Shortly after witnessing the above land transaction to Daniel Brown, Isaac's son Wiley would also leave for Warren County, TN thought to have also been accompanied by his sister Jane and her husband at the time John Sparks.

A little over a year and a half later on August 8,1822, Isaac would sell another 136 acres to his other adjoining neighbor Benjamin Johnson for $100. This deed is important because once again it states that Isaac is "of the county of Iredell", helping solidify his location and marriage to Bethania Perkins. Six months later on February 21, 1823, Isaac sells another 100 acres of land on Hunting Creek to Daniel Brown for the sum of $200. This deed is witnessed by Henry Brown and Bethania's son Manoah B. Hampton, a good sign that Isaac's son Wiley had in fact left for Tennessee especially when coupled with the fact that he drops off the county tax records after 1820. By 1826, Isaac sells his last two remaining parcels of land in Surry County to his other adjoining neighbor Joel Sparks for the sum of $400, now leaving him with only the land that had belonged to his wife Bethania. The following year on October 13, 1827, Isaac and Bethania would together turn over the land left to her by her first husband Samuel Hampton to her son John B. Hampton in the deed recorded in both Surry and Iredell Counties that I mentioned in an earlier post. Having dispensed of all their land in the area, Isaac and Bethania head west for Williamson County, Tennessee, accompanied by William Jeffrey Jr. who had married Isaac's daughter Lydia. The group also most likely included William's brother John Jeffrey and Bethania's oldest son James Hampton, who both went on to Lincoln County, Tennessee around that time.

North Little Hunting Creek area, Yadkin Co., NC

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Isaac Jones...............The Methodist Minister.

The earliest known actual record of Isaac's involvement with the Methodist church dates to September 18, 1820, where he is listed as a deacon on the list of local preachers for the Iredell Circuit, which was then part of the larger Yadkin District under the even larger Virginia Conference. At the time, the Iredell Circuit encompassed the areas of Iredell County, the part of Rowan that is now Davie County, the part of southern Surry County that is now Yadkin County, and present-day southeastern Wilkes County and eastern Alexander County. Despite being created in 1807, the Iredell Circuit really only began keeping detailed records of it's activities in 1823. These records being primarily quarterly conference meeting minutes in which Isaac makes a steady appearance during the years 1823 to late 1826 listed as a local deacon. As a local deacon, Isaac would have been a licensed minister yet not "officially ordained" by the church, a system set up to service the large number of Methodists in the area when at the time there were very few ordained ministers to fill the need. Even in this position, his duties and abilities within the church would have been "to baptize in the absence of an elder. to assist the elder in the administration of the Lord's Supper, to marry, to bury the dead, and read the liturgy to the people as prescribed, except what relates to the administration of the Lord's Supper." In many locations holding the title of minister, regardless of the denomination, would exclude an individual from having to pay any sort of county poll tax in order to vote.

During the years 1823-1826, Isaac routinely attended the quarterly conference meetings held in July and September of each year, making appearances at Hickory Grove Campground and Center Meeting House in Surry County and Snow Creek in Iredell County. At one particular meeting held at Snow Creek in September of 1826, Isaac is one of four men selected to serve on a committee to investigate a fellow local preacher named Reuben Ellis who had been "charged with fals swaring and intoxication." An accusation to which the defendant is ultimately found guilty of only the charge of intoxication and records state that "Bro. Patterson and Bro. Jones was appointed to ask him for his credentials for the purpose of returning them to the annual conference." In other words, the two men had been selected to strip him of his minister's license.

Beyond the earlier mentioned quarterly conference meeting minutes, no further record of any equal or higher level of involvement within the church on Isaac's part has yet to emerge, apart from performing several marriages primarily involving people within his extended family during the 1830's and 1840's. Having been a slave owner as early as 1810, this would have been an instant disqualifier for becoming officially ordained by the church in the years prior to the split within the Methodist Church over the issue of slavery and formation of the Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1844. Isaac most likely sided with the Methodist Episcopal Church South, as evidenced by the fact that he was still listed on the 1850 Census with the occupation of Methodist clergyman while still owning slaves at the time of his death later that year or in early 1851. It is also important to note that his youngest son Joshua Douglas Jones, also a slave owner, went on to become a minister with the Methodist Episcopal Church South in Kentucky.

When looking at Isaac's level of involvement within the church between 1788-1798, it would seem there is little there indicating that he was anything more than just another member of the church. Despite eventually achieving the rank of local deacon on the Iredell Circuit, this does not imply that he was an actual circuit riding preacher at that time or any other. In regards to the ten year time period in question, the known existing evidence actually shows that it would have been somewhat unlikely. During this time, the preachers selected to travel by horseback preaching the gospel across the sparsely populated frontier were known as circuit riders. The general base requirements at the time were that these individuals be "young, in good health, and single (since marriage and a family forced preachers to settle in one area and leave the traveling ministry)." In addition, "circuit riders rarely served longer than one year on a circuit." With Isaac having gotten married possibly as early as 1787 at the age of 17, it would seem that during the time when Isaac would have most been a prime candidate for the circuit, he was instead getting married and having children in direct contrast to what they were looking for in a circuit rider.

1820 List Of Local Preachers On The Iredell Circuit, NC (courtesy of Mike Jones)

1824 Methodist Quarterly Conference Minutes~Iredell Circuit

1825 Methodist Quarterly Conference Minutes~Iredell Circuit (page 1)

1825 Methodist Quarterly Conference Minutes~Iredell Circuit (page 2)

1826 Methodist Quarterly Conference Minutes~Iredell Circuit (page 1)

1826 Methodist Quarterly Conference Minutes~Iredell Circuit (page 2)

Monday, April 23, 2012


Oh sweet you are!

A drum roll please.....................................

We now have a specific date of birth for Isaac Jones!!!!!!

March 5, 1770

This amazing piece of information came to me just this morning via the kindness and efforts of Virginia Mylius, a direct descendant of Isaac Jones' second wife Bethania through her first husband Samuel Hampton. The date is recorded in the family bible of Bethania's son Manoah B. Hampton and his wife Cynthia Mitchell. These bible records were graciously shared with Virginia by Kathy Hassenpflug!

Beyond the fact that we now have a specific date of birth for Isaac Jones, this is also important because it once again calls into question the entire validity of his entry on the 1850 Census. It appears based on this bible record that Isaac knew his exact date of birth, so if Isaac was actually only 80 at the time the census was taken in August, it's very unlikely he would've overstated his age by saying 81. Further proof his 1850 Census info wasn't given firsthand by him.

Once again, a HUGE thanks to Virginia Mylius and Kathy Hassenpflug for putting this info out there!

Family Bible of Manoah B. Hampton & Cynthia Mitchell

The 2nd Wife.....Bethania Bostick (1768-1832)

Isaac Jones' second wife Bethania Bostick was born March 18, 1768 in southern Virginia, most likely near Pittsylvania or Halifax County. Her parents were Col. Absalom Bostick and Bethania Perkins, who had relocated their family to Surry County, NC from Virginia just prior to the American Revolution. They settled along the Dan River in the eastern part of the county which ultimately became Stokes County. Absalom Bostick had been a large source of supplies to the Patriot military during the American Revolution, also serving at the rank of captain. In 1789, he was elected to represent Surry County at the North Carolina Constitutional Convention in Fayetteville when the state ratified the U.S. Constitution and joined the Union. After the war, he bacame a successful planter and went on to serve in the General Assembly representing Stokes County as a member of the North Carolina House of Commons in 1790,1791 and 1793-1795.

On August 19, 1785 Bethania married her first husband Capt. Samuel Hampton. Samuel was the brother of Henry Hampton who founded the town of Hamptonville, which was located just a few miles southeast of where Isaac was living on Hunting Creek. Samuel Hampton was also a local Revolutionary War hero who had seen action and established his reputation at the Battle of Cowpens, the Battle of Kings Mountain, and on the Cherokee Expedition. During the course of their marriage Samuel and Bethania would have six children: James, Samuel, John, Mary, Susannah, and Manoah. The couple's marriage would come to an end after 17 years with the death of Capt. Samuel Hampton in 1802. Two years later in 1804, Bethania gets remarried to a man named Charles Perkins who also happened to be her first cousin. This second marriage would be relatively short-lived due to Charles Perkins death on February 14, 1813.

With the passing of her first husband Samuel Hampton, his entire plantation and all his slaves were left to Bethania in his will. Included in his estate were three tracts of land totaling 350 acres, all situated along the waters of Kennedy Creek which lies just to the east of Hunting Creek and flowed from Surry into Iredell County at the time. One of the tracts of land was in Iredell County and the other two were in Surry County, in essence straddling the border. The land had been under the care of one of Samuel Hampton's estate executors named John Donaldson, and Surry County land records indicate that in 1816 Bethania decided to lay claim to this land and relocate there from Stokes County. Subsequent tax lists for 1817 and 1818 show her being taxed for 100 acres along Hunting Creek which is described in the deed as being adjacent to Jesse Patterson. This is important to note because beginning in 1821 and continuing through the year 1826, Isaac Jones is shown as owning 100 acres of land adjacent Jesse Patterson and Bethania disappears from the tax record in 1819, providing the first evidence of their marriage and a possible time frame.

Unfortunately there isn't a marriage record for Isaac and Bethania's union. Bethania was living in northern Iredell County at the time, so the marriage bond would have been issued from there. It's most likely one will never be produced because most of the county marriage bonds were destroyed when the courthouse caught fire in 1854. Hardly a big deal because there are plenty of secondary sources that absolutely prove their marriage.The first piece of evidence is an Iredell County deed dated July 15, 1819 when Isaac Jones purchases a 25 year old female slave named "Delph" from Bethania's oldest son James Hampton for $575. The deed states that Isaac is "of the County of Iredell" and is witnessed by Bethania's other son Manoah B. Hampton. This same female slave can still be seen in Isaac's possession in 1851 when his estate is being probated in the Calloway County, Kentucky courts. Further evidence of Isaac's move to Iredell can be seen in the fact that beginning in 1819, Surry County tax records no longer show Isaac paying any sort of poll tax either for himself or his slaves, which would indicate that he wasn't actually living in Surry despite being taxed for land. This move to Iredell County would also explain Isaac's disappearance from the 1820 Federal Census for Surry County, a source of confusion for many researchers and often mistakenly seen as a sign that he left the state for Tennessee at that time. Isaac can actually be found on the 1820 Iredell County Census which provides an excellent picture of the wealth that came along with his marriage to Bethania, with Isaac now being shown as having eight slaves in his household.

The most definitive piece of evidence proving this marriage is a deed dated October 13, 1827 and registered in both Iredell and Surry County. The deed shows "Isaac Jones and wife Bethania" selling all the land left to Bethania by her first husband Samuel Hampton, to her son John B. Hampton. This was most likely a stipulation made in Samuel Hampton's will, because all 350 acres were sold for just one dollar. One can only guess how Isaac and Bethania came to meet, although it was most likely through their common involvement with the Methodist Church. Bishop Francis Asbury even makes mention of her father Absalom in his journal dated Wednesday March 18, 1784 when he states, "Being sent for, I went to Mr. B____'s on Dan River" followed by the next entry dated Sunday the 22nd stating, "Preached at the funeral of Absalom Bostwick's daughter"..............a sure sign that Bethania had come from a Methodist household.

1819 Iredell County, NC Deed (slave purchase)~James Hampton to Isaac Jones (page 1)

1819 Iredell County, NC Deed (slave purchase)~James Hampton to Isaac Jones (page 2)

1827 Surry County, NC Deed~Issac Jones & wife Bethania to John B. Hampton (page 1)

1827 Surry County, NC Deed~Isaac Jones & wife Bethania to John B. Hampton (page 2)

1827 Iredell County, NC Deed~Isaac Jones & wife Bethania to John B. Hampton (page 1)

1827 Iredell County, NC Deed~Isaac Jones & wife Bethania to John B. Hampton (page 2)

1827 Iredell County, NC Deed~Isaac Jones & wife Bethania to John B. Hampton (page 3)

1827 Iredell County, NC Deed~Isaac Jones & wife Bethania to John B. Hampton (page 4)

Link To An Excellent Site Detailing The Bostick Family History.

Hunting Creek, Surry County, NC (1801-1827).....Part 2

Old Mill Site at Buck Shoals
(North Little Hunting Creek, Yadkin County, NC)

When war broke out between the United States and the British in 1812, the United States found itself ill-prepared in regards to the size and competence of it's fighting force. Eventually a strong reliance on state militias developed and at some point Isaac would enlist with the 2nd Surry Regiment of the North Carolina Militia and eventually be detached to the 2nd Company of the 8th Regiment under the 2nd Brigade of the North Carolina Militia. Muster rolls indicate that he served alongside his future son-in-law Bowen Whitlock who was the ensign for the company. It's highly unlikely that Isaac ever saw any fighting during the war because the detached militia from Surry County weren't even called into service until November 28, 1814. The war itself had relatively small impact on the state of North Carolina and it's citizens, seeing only a couple skirmishes along the coast near Ocracoke and Portsmouth. With the nearby Cherokee and other tribes having in the past thrown their support behind the British, this was most likely their biggest worry and main reason for keeping local militias at the ready.

A good sign that life in Surry County was proceeding as usual for Isaac Jones can be seen in the fact that on August 2, 1814 he purchases another 100 acres of land from Noel Waddell (Waddle) for the sum of  $200, bringing his total land holdings to as much as 324 acres. I use the phrase "as much as" because the 1812 Surry County tax list for Captain Hatley's District shows Isaac Jones being taxed for 326 acres of land and then in 1813 being taxed on 419 acres. This would seem to indicate that he had purchased an additional one hundred and ninety-five acres that are unaccounted for with existing deeds prior to 1814, thus bringing his total land holdings actually to 519 acres with his last purchase from Noel Waddle. By 1815, county tax lists seem to indicate that Isaac began parceling out some of his land to his two oldest sons Thomas and Wiley. Tax records for that year show Thomas with 95 acres and Wiley with 100, while Isaac now shows only being taxed for 324. Apart from the death of his wife, all signs would indicate that Isaac was doing extremely well for himself by the year 1818 when he marries his second wife Bethania Perkins.

1814 Surry County Deed~Noel Waddell to Isaac Jones (page 1)

1814 Surry County Deed~Noel Waddell to Isaac Jones (page 2)

The 1st Wife.....???

Original Center Methodist Church Cemetery (est. 1796)
a.k.a. Cranberry Flats Cemetery

By the year 1810, Isaac Jones now had seven children: Thomas (1788), Wiley (1789), Alvina (1793), Burrel (1795), Lydia (1800), Jane (1803), and Joshua Douglas (1810). So who was Isaac's wife and mother to all these children? Unfortunately that question still remains unanswered. It's most likely the couple were married around the year 1787, but a thorough search of marriage records in Rowan and all surrounding counties has come up empty-handed. Apart from a family bible entry or church record, at this point in American history the only other documentation of marriage would have come in the form of a marriage bond. The marriage bond system was set up primarily to protect the rights of the woman getting married. If she already owned property or stood to eventually inherit property from her family, the marriage bond would be taken out in the county of her residence and paid for by bondsmen representing the groom to help ensure that the marriage was legitimate. A marriage bond wasn't required to get married and the cost alone, as much as five hundred pounds in 1817, caused many to simply bypass it and many churches to exclude it's use.

Despite not being able to nail down a positive ID for Isaac's first wife, my search has produced some interesting clues to her possible identity. Faced with a definite "needle in a haystack" type of situation, I figured the best place to start was with Isaac's earliest known land purchase from John Hill in 1798. What is most interesting about John Hill is that he married a woman named Margaret Logan in Rowan County on June 2, 1769 and the consent to marry was given by a James Logan. This instantly throws up a red flag due to the fact that Isaac's son Burrel named one of his sons John Logan Jones, and Burrel's oldest daughter Jeannette also used the name Logan when naming some of her children. Not only had John Hill married a Logan, but his brother Robert was married to a Mary Logan and his brother James to a Jane Logan. When James Hill died in 1780, the executors of his estate were John Hill and David Logan. Estate records also show that prior to his death, James and his brother John Hill had been the executors of the estate of James Douglas, another interesting name to pop up considering Isaac's youngest son was named Joshua Douglas Jones. I've seen where two sons of Robert Hill named Abram and Hugh had left behind extremely thorough accounts of their extended family histories written in 1837 and 1820; unfortunately there is no mention of a Jones in either man's account and the wills for most of these men mentioned have turned up nothing.

There is one other Hill of interest from Rowan County although I'm not certain of his connection, if any, to the Hill family mentioned above. His name was Henry Hill, and based on his 1799 will I would say he definitely had ties with the Methodist church. Not only had he named Hardy Jones and James Parks the executors of his estate, but as a stipulation of keeping her inheritance, if his wife Nancy were to remarry it had to be "a Christian man with the consent of her parents, James Parks, and Joshua Caton." Unfortunately his daughters are only mentioned as Margaret and Jane in the will.      

Another possible set of clues to the possible identity of Isaac's first wife are found in the Surry County Court Minutes involving a lawsuit first mentioned on November 13, 1804 and finally resolved on February 12, 1806. It involves two individuals by the names of Patterson and Erwin who are the plaintiffs and listed as assignees versus John Edwards and Isaac Jones the defendants. Two later listings of the case in court records dated February 12, 1805 and February 12, 1806, show the plaintiffs' names as Pattern and Erwin. The court minutes fail to reveal the grounds for the suit but it was decided by jury, who awarded the plaintiffs the sum of 47 pounds, 1 shilling, and 3 pence in damages. Witnesses for the plaintiffs were George Sparks, John Rose, and John Campbell. Of the three witnesses, Sparks and Rose were both locals to the area but court records indicate that John Campbell "proves 1 day and 300 miles" which I would interpret as being a round trip travel total. Prior to 1850, the Surry County courthouse and county seat were located along the Yadkin River in the town of Rockford which lay roughly 45 miles to the north of the town of Salisbury in Rowan County. Having possibly traveled the distance of 150 miles one way to appear in court, it becomes difficult to determine exactly where John Campbell lived. What is interesting though, is that a will exists in Rowan County for a John Campbell and is dated February 15, 1838. In this will, John Campbell is leaving some money to his nephew Adlai Cowan, the same Adlai Cowan mentioned in one of my earlier posts involving the loose estate document from Rowan County that also mentions Isaac Jones and Hugh Montgomery. Adlai Cowan's father was named Samuel Cowan, who was married to Jane the sister of Hugh Montgomery. After the death of Hugh Montgomery, Jane would next marry a David Campbell. And here's another interesting connection I should note in regards to the Cowans. You may recall me mentioning earlier in my post concerning Thomas Jones of Frederick County, MD, that the man who was appointed guardian to the daughter of the Thomas Jones who died in 1789 was named Samuel Barkley and that there was record of a Thomas Cowan marrying a Mary Barkley. The oldest daughter of Thomas and Mary eventually married a man named Joseph Erwin, one of the two surnames listed in the Surry County lawsuits against Isaac Jones. A marriage record also exists in Rowan County showing a John Edwards marrying a Francis Patterson in 1796.

I've seen where some Edwards and Patterson family researchers believe that the Francis Patterson mentioned above was the daughter of James Patterson and Francis Knox who lived on the south side of Third Creek in Rowan County. Third Creek was just north of Winthrow Creek and the School House Branch where the Thomas Jones who married Polly Lock was overseer of the road. Francis Knox was the daughter of John Knox Jr. who was the brother of the James Knox who married Lydia Gillespie (the grandparents of Pres. James Knox Polk) that were mentioned in an earlier post. If Francis Patterson was indeed the daughter of James Patterson and Francis Knox, this would once again somehow tie Issac Jones to these families through the Surry County "Patterson~Erwin" lawsuit. 

This situation gets even more intriguing when you look at the 1832 Revolutionary War pension application for a man named John Allison, who was living in Nicholas County, Kentucky at the time. In his application he states that he was born in Rowan County in 1759 and lived there up until moving to Kentucky shortly after the war. In regards to individuals who can testify to his "veracity", two of the men he chooses to list are named John Campbell and John Hill. Although he is an entirely different person, you may remember me mentioning that it was a John Allison who witnessed Isaac's initial land purchase in Williamson County, TN. The connection to this family becomes even stronger when you see a 4 year old girl named Amanda C. Ellison living in the home of Isaac's son Burrel on the 1850 Census for McCracken County, Kentucky.

Even Isaac's old Rowan County neighbor on Cedar Creek, Andrew Hunt, can't be completely ruled out as a possible father-in-law candidate. A will for Andrew Hunt dated February 13, 1801 does exist, but unfortunately despite some of them being married at the time, his five daughters are only mentioned by their first names.

One final place that may hold the key to cracking the identity of Isaac's first wife is the 1810 Census for Surry County and the fact that Isaac is shown owning a slave. As of now, no record has surfaced addressing how Isaac came to own this slave. There is a Rowan County deed dated February 15, 1796 showing an Isaac Jones and Thomas Dickey purchasing three slaves, as well as other items from a John Troy, but nothing else exists to link this purchase to the slave Isaac Jones owned in 1810. The possibility is also still out there that the slave was left to either Isaac or his wife through the estate of a parent. If there was one thing people made a point to keep excellent record of during this point in history, it was the transfer of slave ownership, so it's odd that nothing has yet to surface concerning this matter.

About all that is known about Isaac Jones' first wife is that she was born sometime after 1766 and died at some point after the birth of their son Joshua in December of 1810 and Isaac getting remarried in late 1818 or early 1819. Based on how little time Isaac waited to remarry before getting married his third and fourth time, I would expect his first wife may have lived even as late as 1818.

The quest to locate a grave for her has yet to produce any results either. The area of Surry County where they were living is located in the southern part of what became Yadkin County in 1850. During the early part of the 19th Century before public cemeteries came into fashion, most people had only the choice of burying their dead in a graveyard at a church or in a family cemetery on their own land. Often times, neighbors would have prior agreements with each other to bury their loved ones together in a sort of multi-family cemetery. With Isaac most likely involved with the church to some degree at this time, the nearest Methodist church would seem like the ideal place to start. If Isaac was in fact living in the area that I mentioned in my last post, it would put the Center Meeting House as the nearest Methodist church with a cemetery. The church was originally established in 1796 and lay just to the east of Isaac along the waters of Cranberry Creek which led to the cemetery being known as Cranberry Flats Cemetery. This seems like an even more likely burial site for his wife when Methodist records indicate that Isaac attended a quarterly conference at this church in July of 1825. Unfortunately the church would eventually relocate during the mid-19th Century, about two miles to the east, and the cemetery would fall out of use and become abandoned. Today the cemetery has for the most part been reclaimed by the forest with only a small handful of headstones from the 1850's actually having any sort of legible inscription. The remainder of the graves are either unmarked or marked solely with a worn or plain field stone, and church records are nonexistent for the time period. Reportedly, the earliest known burial in the cemetery was for Martha Vestal and her newborn infant in 1811. Martha was the first wife of Jesse Vestal who was a preacher at Center Meeting House and is listed on the quarterly conference minutes along with Isaac Jones in 1825.

It's just as likely that Isaac's wife was buried in a family cemetery that has long been lost to the general public's knowledge. Many of the people mentioned who lived near Isaac Jones and died around this time, or even as much as 20 years later, have yet to have their grave locations discovered. Unfortunately in these parts, farming and Mother Nature are pretty quick to destroy or reclaim a lot of these family cemeteries. The upside to all this is that during the short period I was volunteering with the Yadkin County Historical Society, I was told that the current Society president had been working on an update to the county cemetery book and had located over 100 new family cemeteries or single graves. So there's still some hope yet!

George Messick Family Cemetery, Yadkin Co., NC

George Messick Family Cemetery, Yadkin Co., NC
(the right side of that downed tree is balanced on top of the tombstone it landed on)


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hunting Creek, Surry County, NC (1801-1827).....Part 1

North Little Hunting Creek, Yadkin County, NC
(Surry County before 1850)

On October 10, 1801, Isaac Jones makes his earliest known land purchase in Surry County, North Carolina; purchasing 142 acres "on the waters of Hunting Creek" from Noel Waddle for the price of 70 pounds. The land lay to the south of a man named Benjamin Johnson, which most likely places it in the vicinity of today's Buck Shoals. The deed was witnessed by James Whitlock and John Brown. This James Whitlock was the son of the James Whitlock mentioned earlier in Rowan County, and the father of Bowen Whitlock who married Isaac's daughter Alvina. John Brown had relocated to the area from southern Rowan County in 1780, coming from a family of influential early German settlers in that area. There's no reason to believe that he and Isaac had any prior connection going back to Rowan County, and most likely was only acting as a witness to the deed because he had also bought land nearby from Noel Waddle a year earlier. The Jones and Brown family would ultimately form a strong connection eventually leading to the marriage of two of John Brown's daughters to Isaac's sons Thomas and Burrel. James Whitlock on the other hand, Isaac most certainly knew prior to relocating to Surry County. James was also a Methodist and nephew to Hardy Jones, who as mentioned earlier, was a wealthy Methodist planter who helped found the Cokesbury School in Rowan County. He too had begun buying land in the Hunting Creek area beginning in 1800. If there is a family connection between Hardy and Isaac Jones, it is most likely way way back. I've often wondered though if Isaac's eventual grandson-in-laws, John and Nathaniel P. Jones, were actually nephews of Hardy Jones. It's probably also important to note that Hardy's daughter Nancy had married Daniel Hunt, the younger brother of Isaac's Cedar Creek neighbor Andrew Hunt.

Isaac's reasons for relocating to the Hunting Creek area of Surry County are most likely part affordable land had become available for sale and part connection to the Methodist Church. This part of the county had long been a popular place to settle for Methodists. The famous Methodist bishop Francis Asbury even makes mention of it in his journal in 1794 as he was making his historic ride through the southeastern United States. In his journal the bishop writes, "Wednesday 2. Came to E.'s meeting-house, near Hunting Creek, in Surry County: here I met with some old disciples from Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia, who have known me these twenty-two years."
The "E's meeting-house" he refers to is most likely Ellsbury Meeting House, currently known as Asbury Methodist Church located very close to Isaac's initial land purchase on Hunting Creek.

Now possibly at age 32, it may be that Isaac had just found the opportunity to really advance himself and begin to make his mark. Isaac had done pretty well for himself with the purchase and sale of his earlier Cedar Creek property in Rowan County. Having purchased his 100 acres on Cedar Creek for the sum of 20 pounds in 1798, and then having sold it three years later for the price of  $150, Isaac managed to walk away with a fairly decent profit. Using what is thought to be a pretty accurate conversion estimate for the time; that one pound equalled 20 shillings, and one shilling equalled twelve and a half cents, it appears Isaac profited $100 off this transaction and that would've been a fair amount of money for the time.  This scenario is actually indicative of one of the few ways people had during this period in history to attempt to make a name for themselves and climb the social chain. Land was the basis for everything during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and if you had the means, land speculation was the way to go. This was a widely popular activity at the time and worked extremely well for those with an adventurous spirit or those who were well-connected. Unless you were rich, the most common way to go about it was for someone to buy a cheap large undeveloped piece of land and work towards clearing it to make it suitable for farming, then sell it at a profit to the first new settler to the area to come along. Based on the sheer volume of land deeds involving Isaac Jones, he was pretty adept at this.

The huge difference in cost between an undeveloped piece of land and one that had been "improved" is clearly illustrated in Isaac's second land purchase in Surry County on December 12, 1804. Once again the land is located "on the waters of Hunting Creek" and bordering Benjamin Johnson, as well as, a man listed only as "Jeffries". This would prove to be William Jeffrey Sr., the father of John and William Jeffrey who married Isaac's daughters Jane and Lydia. This new parcel of land is being purchased from a man named Samuel Hicks, and whereas before Isaac had been able to purchase 142 acres for 70 pounds, this time around it is a mere 42 acres for 33 pounds! This large difference in price would be the sort of thing that would indicate these 42 acres most likely had a home and the necessary amenities for the time located on it. It is on this piece of land that I think Isaac actually lived during his years in Surry County.

This notion is further supported by the Surry County Court Minutes which state that on August 15, 1805 it was "ordered by the court that the following persons towit, Isaac Jones, William Jeffrey, Richard Musik, John Catstevens, Isaac Minish, William Osborn, William Nixon, Ambrose Chappel Esq., Benjamin Johnson, Jesse Brewer, Jesse Sisk, Joshua Hicks, Nathan Pearson, and Joseph Sparks or any twelve of them be appointed a jury to view and mark out a road from the old iron work road at William Nixons to the Wilks road at William Nixons to the Wilks road at the flat rock and make report thereof to next court." As mentioned in an earlier post, selection for this sort of thing would indicate you lived or owned land along the proposed route. Based on early maps of the area, the "old iron work road" ran from an important iron ore mine in present day Jonesville and basically followed the same route as today's Highway 21 down through Hamptonville. The "Wilks road" that is mentioned ran the same course as today's Highway 421 with the "flat rock" being a reference to the Flat Rock Branch of Hunting Creek. This would essentially place Isaac's homestead somewhere right along or north of the section of Highway 421 between Brooks Crossroads and Swan Creek Road to the west.

The location of Isaac's homestead can be narrowed down even further based on another Surry County court record dated August 13, 1806. On this particular day, the court minutes indicate that it was "Ordered by the court that James Whitlock be appointed overseer of the road beginning at the pole bridge near Hamptonville to the Wilks line & that the following hands work on the same, towit, Joseph Salmons, Josiah Roughtons negroes, Elisha Roughton, Joel Sparks, Isaac Jones, James Perry, George Messick, John Brown, Richard Messick, Ashley Johnson, Thomas Eliott, Trestraim Cogshall, Joshua Tulbert, Thomas Whitlock, Joseph ___, James Menish, William Menish, Richard Green, James Parks negroes: it is further ordered that the said overseer keep the said road in good order agreeable to law." County tax records as late as 1819 indicate that many of these individuals did in fact own land adjacent to one another and provide an excellent picture of their geographic layout at the time. Even to this day the local names for the county roads attest to where many of these early families lived.

Earlier I had mentioned that Isaac's homestead most likely lay somewhere along the section of Highway 421 between Brooks Crossroads and Swan Creek Road. If you narrow this section down even further and focus on the stretch of it running between Interstate 77 and Swan Creek Road you see Brown Road, Cheek Road, and Sparks Road. John Brown and his extended family lived next to George Messick and you can find the George Messick Cemetery just to the south of the eastern end of Brown Road. County land records indicate that on October 17, 1804, William Jeffrey purchased land from a Benjamin Hicks which lay adjacent to Isaac Jones and Samuel Hicks who were to the north, and adjacent John Brown who was to the west. If you look at the 1818 Surry County Tax List you'll find William Jeffrey is listed as being adjacent James Denny who can be seen listed as adjacent to John Cheek. Isaac Jones is listed as being adjacent Matthew Sparks Sr., his son Joel Sparks, and Atha Elmore who lived along the waters of South Deep Creek. John Cheek had married Atha Elmore's daughter Mary in 1809, and Matthew Sparks Sr.'s son Matthew had married Atha's other daughter Sarah in 1808. The Cheeks were neighbors to Isham Dickerson, whose land Isaac Jones purchased as seen in a deed dated May 27, 1809. The purchase was for 142 acres and bordered "Sparks". This all seems to indicate that the location of Isaac Jones' homestead was north of Highway 421 and west of Interstate 77, lying somewhere between the present day rural communities of Maler and Wagoner.

North Little Hunting Creek area of Yadkin County, NC  

1801 Surry County, NC Deed~Noel Waddle to Isaac Jones

1804 Surry County, NC Deed~Samuel Hicks to Isaac Jones (page 1)

1804 Surry County, NC Deed~Samuel Hicks to Isaac Jones (page 2)

1809 Surry County, NC Deed~Isham Dickerson to Isaac Jones (page 1)

1809 Surry County, NC Deed~Isham Dickerson to Isaac Jones (page 2)

Surry County Court Minutes~August 13, 1805

Surry County Court Minutes~August 13, 1806 (page 1)

Surry County Court Minutes~August 13, 1806 (page 2)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thomas Jones of Frederick County, MD......Isaac Jones' father???

The earliest mention of a Thomas Jones in Rowan County finds itself in the Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions and dates back to October 21, 1757. It involves a lawsuit between Joseph Bryan plaintiff and a Thomas Jones as defendant. This is most likely the same Thomas Jones that shows up on numerous land deeds between the years 1758-1761, acting as a witness along with a man named William Churton for the sale of lands owned by the Earl of Granville. From the sheer number and consistency of these deeds it would appear that this Thomas Jones may have been an assistant surveyor to William Churton or a land agent of some fashion for the Earl of Granville.

It is unclear whether they are one and the same, but around this same time another Thomas Jones is believed to have migrated down to Rowan County, North Carolina from Frederick County, Maryland. First mention of this Thomas Jones also finds itself in the Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions of Rowan County from 1764. On this particular occasion, the court has appointed Thomas Jones, Frances Taylor, Matthew Sparks, William Sparks, James Whitaker, and several others "to lay out" a road between John Howard's ferry to the Salisbury-Bethabara Road near Reedy Creek and then from the ferry to Squire Boone's road. Interestingly, all the individuals I've specifically chosen to name had migrated to Rowan County form Frederick County, Maryland. The William Sparks that is mentioned would later move to Surry County where his son Matthew would be Isaac Jones' direct neighbor. Matthew Sparks' son named John would eventually marry Isaac's daughter Jane around 1819.

During this point in history, if one were assigned to take part in laying out a road by the courts, it is generally safe to assume that the individual either lived or owned land along the road's proposed route. The area mentioned for the road involving Thomas Jones is located in present day southeastern Davie County, right where the South Yadkin River connects with the main Yadkin River; leading people during this time to refer to this area and all of what is now Davie County as the Forks of the Yadkin. The John Howard's ferry that is mentioned, once ferried people across the South Yadkin just to the west of where Matthew Sparks lived. Later deeds show that Thomas Jones lived in the vicinity of Reedy Creek and Peeler's Creek just to the north. Further evidence that Thomas Jones actually lived on this road appears five years later in 1769, when the Rowan County court issues Thomas Jones a license to keep an "ordinary" at his house. Ordinary was the common term used for a tavern in the late 18th Century. Frances Taylor who was also mentioned in regards to the road, acted as a security for the license, as did an individual named Moses Peares.

Interestingly enough, four years prior to Thomas Jones getting his license he acted as a security along with Frances Taylor and William Giles, when the courts issued a license to "keep an ordinary" to a James Jones on October 9, 1765. It's important to note that the William Giles that is mentioned, later acted as the bondsman when Isaac Jones' Cedar Creek neighbor Andrew Hunt married Lucy Giles on September 27, 1764. William Giles was married to a woman named Mary Ellis who had a sister named Lucy that had married a man named Thomas Foster in 1763. Thomas and Lucy Foster had a son named Robert who would eventually act as a witness to a deed along with Isaac Jones when William Giles sells a parcel of land to a woman named Polly Freeman on January 29, 1798. Foster family researchers believe that it is also this Lucy Foster who would go on to marry a Joseph Jones in Rowan County on October 3, 1785 after the death of her husband Thomas Foster. The bondsman for Joseph and Lucy's marriage was James Foster, a man who had been appointed one of the first pastors of the newly formed Salisbury Circuit of the Methodist Church which had been formed from the larger Yadkin Circuit in 1783. There appears to be a strong connection between Thomas Jones and both Thomas and James Foster. Rowan County land entries for 1778 indicate that Thomas Jones and one of the Fosters set up a land claim together prior to 1778, which was eventually sold to William Johnston. The Foster involved in the land claim was most likely James due to the fact that he and Thomas Jones are listed adjacent each other on the 1778 tax list for the county.

There definitely appears to be a familial connection between the two tavern keepers, Thomas and James Jones. Rowan County court records indicate that the two men acted as "sureties" for the estate of the recently deceased John Jones in 1769.  The records further state that John Jones' wife was named Catherine and that he was leaving behind a fourteen year old son named John. A 1778 vacant land entry record for a William Bailey, involving two hundred acres on the south side of the main Yadkin River, shows their close proximity to each other when it states the piece of land is "adjacent Thomas Jones, Joseph Jones, Zachariah Adams, Michael Dumpard, and James Jones." This close proximity is further illustrated in the 1778 Rowan County Tax list for Captain Lyon's District in which the following names are mentioned together: Thomas Jones, Henry Shouse, Michael Dumport, Zachariah Adams, James Foster, Thomas Foster, James Patterson, Benjamin Bentley, Francis Taylor, William Giles, John Jones, James Jones, and an Ezekial Jones, another James Jones, and another John Jones who are only paying a poll tax.

A closer look at some of the other individuals listed on the 1778 Rowan County Tax List for Captain Lyon's District produce even more connections to Thomas Jones and later Isaac Jones. The first person of interest is Henry Shouse, who a year later would marry an Elizabeth Jones on March 5, 1779 and Thomas Jones would serve as the bondsman. Later that year court records show both Thomas Jones and Henry Shouse acting as securities for Joseph Jones, who has been charged 2000 pounds by the court for being named "the father of the bastard child of Agnes Adams." If modern currency converters are to be believed, it comes as no surprise that Joseph eventually made a motion to appeal the charge, considering 2000 pounds has the same spending power as $287,000-$322,000 would today. The connection between Thomas Jones and this Joseph Jones is somewhat unclear and a case could be made that he is possibly a son or more likely a brother to Thomas based on his age. Either way, the pair is listed  together as "Thomas and Joseph Jones" on a list of people having shown up at the Rowan County court on February 8, 1783 "to shew Cause under the Act of Assembly why their Estates Should not be Confiscated." This would imply that the two men had not sworn the Oath of Allegiance to the state as required after the onset of the Revolutionary War and declared by the Rowan County court on August 7, 1778. For those who failed to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the state, the courts decided, "All persons who have neglected or refused to appear before the respective Justices of the Districts where they may be resident, to take the Oath of Allegiance to the State as required by Law & have neglected to appear at this Court & offer Excuse for such Neglect or Refusal, depart this State within 60 days after the Rising of this Court to the West Indies or Europe-this order to be advertised." The two men must have eventually taken the oath because nothing ever came out of this and both men remained in the county for years to come. It may be that Thomas had already sworn allegiance to the state because county court records show that a Thomas Jones had actually done so on November 4, 1777.

Another individual of interest on the 1778 tax list for Captain Lyon's District is James Patterson. His son, also named James Patterson, was another popular early Methodist minister. He and his father would eventually relocate to northern Iredell County, North Carolina, just across the county line from where Isaac Jones lived in Surry County, where the younger James Patterson would serve as a local elder and steward of the Iredell Circuit of the Methodist Church with Isaac Jones in the 1820's.

Eight years prior to this tax list, county court records show that Thomas Jones was appointed constable of the district on February 16, 1770, replacing a Daniel Lewis and serving only a year before being replaced himself by Benjamin Bentley who is also listed on the 1778 tax list for Captain Lyon's District. I would assume that the general vicinity of Captain Lyon's District lay in the same area as many of these men could be found later in 1784. A vacant land entry from 1784 shows a man named Benjamin Buckner entering a claim for 200 acres on Peeler's Creek in the Forks of the Yadkin "adjacent Thomas Jones, William Copeland, and James Foster." Peeler's Creek lay just to north of where Thomas Jones and others had been ordered by the court to lay out the road near Reedy Creek back in 1764 that I mentioned earlier. An even later vacant land entry from 1793 states that an Obadiah Smith has entered a claim for 238 acres on the north side of Reedy Creek in the Forks of the Yadkin "adjacent James Andrews and Thomas Jones"; further proving that these two Thomas Jones are one and the same.

Unfortunately there is never any mention in the Rowan County records of the identity of Thomas Jones' wife. It may be that he married in Frederick County, MD prior to coming to Rowan County, NC. There is one marriage record in Rowan County that I find to be very intriguing and I feel it may be the key to connecting Isaac Jones as the son of Thomas Jones originally of Frederick County, MD, or possibly it sheds light on one of Isaac's previously unknown siblings. Dated October 23, 1788, the document shows a Thomas Jones marrying a Polly Lock with a Matthew Lock acting as the bondsman. Later records indicate that her real name was Mary Lock which comes as no surprise considering Polly was the common nickname for Mary. In 1788, there was only one Matthew Lock who would have been old enough to act as a bondsman to a marriage and that was Matthew Locke (1730-1801). At this point in time, Matthew Locke was a member of the North Carolina House of Commons and would later be elected to the 3rd United States Congress. He did have a son named Matthew, but he would have been too young to act as a bondsman in 1788 being at the most only 17 at the time. The only Mary Locke known to be connected to Matthew Locke Sr. is his daughter who was born in 1765 and his 1801 will indicates that she would've instead been married to a man named Edward Richardson. It may be that the Mary "Polly" Lock who married Thomas Jones was actually a sister of Matthew Locke Sr., definitely making the marriage more appropriate as far as age difference is concerned. Although, it was hardly uncommon to see marriages with a 10 year or more age difference during this time in history and well onward.

What is most significant about this marriage between Thomas Jones and Polly Lock is that it is this Thomas Jones who eventually buys the lot in Salisbury from Michael Troy that I discussed in my last post "The 1790 Federal Census". The same lot located next door to the one owned and eventually sold by Charles Hunt which Isaac Jones witnessed the sale of in 1793. Proof that these two Thomas Jones are one and the same can be found in the Rowan County court records where you find "the administration of the estate of Thomas Jones" being "issued to wife Mary Jones who must appear before a justice, qualify, and give 600 pounds with security" on November 6, 1789. Six months later on May 4, 1790, Mary would qualify and provide bond as "administer of the estate of Thomas Jones" with a man named William Cowan acting as "security". This connection is further made by the fact that Thomas Jones, along with Joseph Foster and Samuel Jones, had witnessed the writing/signing of William Cowan's will on August 14, 1789. This same William Cowan would've still been alive to act as a "security" for Mary Jones in 1790 because his will wasn't probated until 1791. William Cowan's son, William Cowan Jr., would eventually marry Ann Foster, the daughter of the Thomas Foster mentioned earlier in connection with Thomas Jones and the sister to the Robert Foster who along with Isaac Jones co-witnessed the 1798 William Giles land deed.

It's important to now take a closer at the Joseph Foster who also acted as a witness to William Cowan's will. Rowan County Vacant Land Entry records show Joseph Foster entering "100 acres on the ridge between Sills Creek and Cathey's Mill Creek adjacent his own line, George Gillespie, William Bowman, Hugh Montgomery, and perhaps William Cowen and John McConahy" in 1789. George Gillespie was the brother of David Gillespie who would later cite Isaac Jones as someone "I can refer to...for my character for veracity and their belief of my services in the revolution", when applying for his Revolutionary War pension in July of 1834 while both men were living in Williamson County, Tennessee. An interesting side note about David and George Gillespie is that their sister was the grandmother of future president James Knox Polk, who was representing the state of Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives during Isaac Jones' time in Williamson County. David and George also had a brother named Thomas Gillespie whose daughter married John Allison, the man who witnessed Isaac Jones' first land purchase when he moved to Williamson County, Tennessee. Two more Gillespie siblings had married into the Graham family, leading one to wonder if the William Graham that Isaac sold his Cedar Creek land to in 1801 bears any relation.

Another important name listed on the Joseph Foster vacant land entry is Hugh Montgomery. Based on the date, this is most likely the son of Hugh Montgomery Sr. who also had a daughter named Rachel who married Montfort Stokes, another man listed as a member of the Freemason Old Cone No. 9 lodge along with Isaac Jones. What is even more interesting is that a single receipt exists in the Rowan County loose estate documents dated November 6, 1806 showing that the sum of twenty-five pounds had been received from Adlai Cowan, "being part of a judgement", and seems to list Hugh Montgomery as executor and Isaac Jones as administrator. I use the word "seems" because my words executor and administrator are based on abbreviations next to their respective names on the document, and my own assumptions to their meanings in the context that this is a loose estate document. There is high probability that this is in fact the correct Isaac Jones despite him having left Rowan County by this time, due to the lack of any other existing Isaac Jones in the area at the time. Even having removed to Surry County, Isaac was still relatively close and within easy traveling distance of the area where these families lived. Unfortunately no other documents have surfaced in relation to this single receipt to help cast any further light on the matter.

It's also unfortunate that the Thomas Jones who died in Rowan County in 1789 didn't leave any sort of will and his estate was eventually probated in court. Court records indicate that an inventory and receipt of the sale of the estate was submitted to the court, although these documents apparently no longer exist. The settlement of the estate seems to have continued for quite some time because it's not until February 9, 1799 that the courts appoint Samuel Barkley as the guardian for Thomas Jones' daughter. Her name is difficult to make out on the document but it looks to read Kathy or possibly Hetty. The document is also signed by John Locke. This information is confirmed with another court record the following year in 1800 when the courts show once again that Samuel Barkley is the guardian for Thomas Jones' heirs and that Nathan Chaffin, the sheriff at the time, had seized the lot in Salisbury most likely due to unpaid taxes. This leads me to believe that the lot was being used as a business and not a place of residence...possibly another tavern?

The only other mention of Thomas Jones' estate in Rowan County records is a letter to the "inferior court" dated May 4, 1790 concerning "resolving dispute between the executors of Thomas Jones' estate and the executors of Lemeul Dotey's estate." This is interesting because in 1789 Thomas Jones was replaced by a Moses Dotey as overseer of the road near School House Branch of the Yadkin River. Although any creek with a school house somewhere along it could be referred to as the "school house branch", the only other mention I've ever seen of a School House Branch in county records is the School House Branch of Withrow's Creek which would certainly put this Thomas Jones down amongst the Gillespies, Allisons, and Cowans. Beyond this, nothing more has made itself known in regards to Thomas' estate and the connection and reasons for selecting Samuel Barkley as the guardian remain unclear. The name Barkley can be linked to the Cowans from an earlier time as evidenced by the 1773 marriage in Rowan County of Thomas Cowan and Mary Barkley. Records seem to indicate that the Barkleys were Baptists living in the Jersey Settlement area of Rowan County and that a Samuel Barkley died in the county prior to 1803. Barkley family researchers believe that Samuel Barkley also had a son named Samuel born in 1763, making it uncertain as to which one was actually the guardian of Thomas Jones' daughter.

With all this having been said, I have very little doubt in my mind that Isaac Jones is the son of Thomas Jones who migrated to Rowan County from Frederick County, Maryland sometime prior to 1764, and hence, was not born in Maryland as commonly believed. The only uncertainty I have is whether the Thomas Jones who married Polly Lock and died in 1789 is this same Thomas, or possibly instead the brother of Isaac Jones. While I'm sure many genealogists would be quick to say that what we've got here is just a mountain of circumstantial evidence, at the same time, if this was a case of easy answers wouldn't somebody have long ago figured it out? I know I'm not the first person to try to tackle this. Unfortunately when faced with a situation of nonexistent wills, bibles, or marriage records, you may have to settle for what on the surface seems circumstantial. Eventually that circumstantial evidence is going to pile-up to a point which pushes the scenario more into the realm of probable, and I believe this connection to be extremely probable.  Often times I believe people, in their modern view of things, tend to forget how interconnected and extended familial relationships could be during the 18th Century especially in the American South. Sometimes it is these relations that can answer the questions just as clearly as having it spelled out in a will or family bible. As further proof of this, I'll leave you with this...

Polly Hunt, the granddaughter of Isaac Jones' 1798 Cedar Creek neighbor Andrew Hunt, was the second wife of a man named James Sneed. James Sneed was previously married to the cousin of Isaac Jones' second wife Bethania Bostick Hampton Perkins, who was named Bethania Hardin Perkins. All of whom, except Andrew Hunt, end up living in Williamson County, Tennessee around the same time.

See what I mean?

1799 Court Document Establishing Samuel Barkley As Guardian To Orphan Of Thomas Jones

1806 Rowan County Estate Receipt Showing Isaac Jones As Administrator

Map Showing The Western Half Of Rowan County, NC And It's Watercourses Circa 1790
Historical Currency Converter

(If any of these documents appear too small to view in the photo viewer, feel free to download them. They're high-resolution, so you should be able to zoom in and still retain clarity.~Chris)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The 1790 Federal Census

Knowing that Isaac Jones was definitely in Rowan County, NC as early as 1798 and living somewhere in the state as early as 1788, the next logical step would be to have a look at the 1790 Federal Census. At this point in time in his life, counting only his known to exist children, Isaac would have had two sons (Thomas & Wiley). Instantly a challenge presents itself here because in 1790 there are two individuals named Isaac Jones residing in Rowan County, and as many as seven others statewide. These additional seven are for the most part easily eliminated based on the household information that was given being grossly out of proportion to what Isaac's would have been at the time, or due to them showing up in the same location on the subsequent 1800 Census and beyond. Despite being one of the seven to fall into this category, the Isaac Jones residing in Rutherford County, NC is an interesting candidate and has some intriguing aspects to him which I'll be discussing at a later time.

Unfortunately, neither of the two Isaac Jones listed in Rowan County come up as a match either. One of them being a Major Isaac Jones who was living in the same general area of interest, although in the Dutchman's Creek and Bear Creek area. He remained in the county until his death in 1801 and is buried in the town of Mocksville. The other being an Isaac Jones who was living in the southeastern part of Rowan County in the vicinity of Abbotts Creek which is now currently part of Davidson County. As with the other Isaac mentioned, records indicate that he also continued to live in the same area up until his time of death.

The thing to keep in mind here is that this was the very first federal census, so there is really no guarantee that every head of household would've been counted, especially in what was then still considered the frontier region of North Carolina. The other thing to keep in mind is that if we are to assume Isaac was in fact born in 1769, he would've only been 21 at the time, easily leaving open the possibility that he was living in someone else's household such as his parents, his wife's parents, or even possibly an older sibling; something that was quite common at the time.

While only having listed two on the 1790 Census, Rowan County records indicate that there were actually as many as four men named Isaac Jones living in the county between the years 1767-1798. The earliest record being a land deed between Thomas Powell and his wife Elizabeth conveying one hundred and fifty-one acres of land on Polecat Creek to an Isaac Jones on January 14, 1767, obviously being too early to involve the Isaac which is the subject in question. Polecat Creek would end up in Guilford County with it's formation in 1771, further eliminating this Isaac Jones from any further discussion.

The next Isaac Jones to appear in the Rowan County records would be in 1778, as shown in a vacant land entry for one hundred and fifty acres along Hunting Creek. This is in fact the same Hunting Creek mentioned in an earlier post, although the section mentioned here is much further south and runs through present day Davie County, in the vicinity of Bear Creek. Although still too early to be the Isaac Jones in question, this vacant land entry does mark the first appearance of Major Isaac Jones in Rowan County, and serves as an excellent means to differentiate between the thirty-seven other subsequent land deeds that mention an Isaac Jones in some capacity between the years 1786-1797, the exact period in question. Of these thirty-seven deeds, thirty-six of them can be positively attributed to this Major Isaac Jones through connection to additional names mentioned in the deeds or through location of lands mentioned. Having arrived in Rowan County from Maryland around 1778 at the age of 22, he would go on to enlist as a private in 1781 with the 10th North Carolina Regiment during the American Revolution. After ending his service in 1782 he would eventually marry Eleanor "Nellie" Gaither in 1787. Nellie was the daughter of a nearby wealthy planter and war veteran named Basil Gaither. By August of 1789 he would be appointed deputy sheriff and eventually sheriff of Rowan County for the years 1790 and 1791. As sheriff, his primary responsibility was to act as the county tax collector. This gave him the power to confiscate property involving unpaid taxes which was then sold at auction and conveyed to the winner by him through deed. Many of the thirty-six deeds mentioned earlier and attributed to this Major Isaac Jones involve just this sort of thing.

The one Rowan County deed out of the original total of thirty-seven that does not seem to involve Major Isaac Jones dates to April 17, 1793 and shows an Isaac Jones acting as a witness for the sale of a lot in the town of Salisbury. On this day, Charles Hunt and his wife Elizabeth are selling part of Lot 3 in the west square of Salisbury to an Albert Torrence. The deed further states that "the lot is adjacent to the grantee Charles Hunt, Corbin Street, and Lot 11." This would be the same Charles Hunt who founded the town of Huntsville and was brother to Isaac's 1798 Cedar Creek neighbor, Andrew Hunt. I would imagine also that the Albert Torrence mentioned in the deed is somehow related to the Robert Torrence who is listed alongside Isaac Jones on the roster of local Freemasons that was discussed in my last post. Further analysis of this deed shows that it may very well hold the key to Issac Jones' earlier life, in addition to the possible identity of his previously unknown father. If one digs a little deeper into this deed you find that four years prior to this transaction, on May 9, 1789, part of Lot 4 right next door was purchased by a Thomas Jones from Michael Troy and his wife, with the deed specifically stating that the lot is adjacent Charles Hunt's Lot 3 on Corbin Street. This lot sits at the northwest corner of what is now South Main Street and West Bank Street in downtown Salisbury.

So we now have a Thomas Jones purchasing a town lot right next door to Charles Hunt from Michael Troy, another individual listed alongside Isaac Jones on the Old Cone No. 9 lodge roster of Freemasons. So who exactly is this Thomas Jones?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Isaac Jones....The Freemason???

The above image was taken from the grave marker belonging to Isaac Jones' youngest son Joshua Douglas Jones who is buried in the Jeffrey Cemetery in Calloway County, Kentucky. I'm sure many of you will be quick to recognize it as the universal symbol of the Freemasons. If Isaac's son Joshua was a Freemason, this naturally begs the question, "was Isaac?"

The first piece of evidence alluding to this possibility can be found in the North Carolina Roster of 18th Century Freemasons. It's here that you find an Isaac Jones listed as an active member of the Old Cone No. 9 lodge located in Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina in the year 1797. What's interesting about this is that one year later when we find Isaac Jones buying land in the Cedar Creek area of Rowan County, he's within five miles of the town of Huntsville which was founded by the brother of Isaac's neighbor Andrew Hunt. Andrew's brother Charles had come to the area from Salisbury after purchasing 250 acres in the vicinity of The Shallow Ford in 1792. The Shallow Ford was one of the few places where a wagon could cross the Yadkin River going from Rowan County into Surry County and was very heavily travelled. Upon purchasing the land, Charles Hunt set aside 111 half acre lots and founded the town of Huntsville. The town established it's first post office in 1795, the same year it would establish it's Masonic lodge known as the Shallow Ford Lodge. Unfortunately, records for the Shallow Ford Lodge are not known to exist and thought to have been destroyed. It's unknown to me as to whether Charles Hunt was actually a Freemason, although I do believe that he and Isaac knew each other and had definitely had prior dealings at an earlier time. Something I'll be discussing at a later time.

The Shallow Ford

But back to that list of Freemasons from the Old Cone No. 9 lodge in Salisbury. As I get deeper into explaining my theories concerning Isaac Jones' origin and who I believe his father to be, you'll start to see many of the men that are also listed come into play in the story. Other Freemasons like: William Alexander, Michael Troy, John Steele, and Montfort Stokes.

Records show that even in later years Isaac was acquainted with other Freemasons, some of which were high-ranking leaders in the organization. Take for example James Reid, a fellow Methodist minister who would eventually serve as the grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina Freemasons. In 1825 when Isaac Jones was serving as a "local deacon" in Surry County on what was then known as the Iredell Circuit, quarterly conference meeting minutes indicate that James Reid was the "A.P.", or assisting preacher, on the circuit that year. Although positive identity has yet to be determined that they are one and the same, when Isaac makes his first land purchase in Williamson County, Tennessee in 1828, it is from a man named James Reid.

James Reid also gives us pretty good evidence to the fact that membership with the Freemasons had a tendency to be handed down from father to son. Not only did he serve as the grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge Of North Carolina Freemasons, but so did his son Numa Reid, as well as his grandson the Reverend Frank Reid. Although you probably wouldn't be able to get a Freemason to admit this, let's be honest here, one of the greatest benefits of membership in the Freemasons is the ability to network amongst the pillars of the community. The movers and shakers if you will, and as you'll soon see, Isaac Jones was definitely one of those.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Earliest Known Land Purchase.

Now that it's been established that Isaac Jones wasn't living in Surry County, NC or just across the border in neighboring Virginia prior to 1801, where exactly was he? We know that he was definitely residing in the state of North Carolina as early as 1788 based on the birth of his oldest child and son Thomas.

The answer to Isaac's pre-1801 whereabouts lies in a series of Rowan County, North Carolina deeds beginning in 1798 and ending in 1803. The first deed dated March 2, 1798 involves John Hill of the county of Rowan selling to Isaac Jones "of the same county", one hundred acres of land lying on the waters of Cedar Creek for the sum of twenty pounds lawful money of the state. The land lay adjacent to Andrew Hunt and Henry Miller and the deed was witnessed by Nathan Chaffin Sr. and E. V. Harbin. Cedar Creek once lay in the far northern portion of Rowan County just across the southern border of Surry County in what is today known as Davie County. The second deed appears nearly four years later dated September 23, 1801 and involves Isaac Jones now of Surry County selling to William Graham, 100 acres of land on the waters of Cedar Creek for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars. As before, the land is adjacent to Andrew Hunt and Henry Miller although this time the deed is witnessed by E.V. Harbin and Elisha Stonestreet. Two months later on October 10, 1801, Isaac makes his first land purchase in Surry County, buying one hundred and forty two acres of land along the waters of Hunting Creek from Noel Waddle. The deed states that both parties are from Surry County and was witnessed by James Whitlock and John Brown. Isaac would once again be involved with the Cedar Creek piece of land by acting as a witness on December 6, 1803 when William Graham sold the land to a Thomas Canter.

It's important to note that both Cedar Creek and Hunting Creek hold much more significance than simply being place markers on a few land deeds. Both areas were Methodist strongholds in their perspective counties dating back as far as the first emergence of Methodism on the Western North Carolina frontier. Prior to the formation of Davie County in 1836, Cedar Creek lay in the far northern part of Rowan County once referred to as the Forks of the Yadkin. Not far to the southwest of Cedar Creek is Beal's Meeting House, established in 1780 and the oldest Methodist church in North Carolina west of the Yadkin River. Just directly to the south of Cedar Creek is another nearby early Methodist Church also dating back to1780 known as Whitaker's Meeting House. And just to the east was once located the historic Cokesbury School, the first Methodist school in North Carolina, started in the early 1790's and organized by James Parks and Hardy Jones, who incidentally would both also eventually relocate to the Hunting Creek area of Surry County. James Parks would go on to serve as a local elder on the Iredell Methodist Circuit during the 1820's, while Isaac Jones would fill the position of local deacon during that time. Many of Isaac's later acquaintances and neighbors in Surry County and even later in Tennessee had once resided in this area of Rowan County. People such as James Whitlock and Matthew Sparks, whose sons would eventually marry Isaac's daughters Alvina and Jane. Famed Methodist preachers James Patterson and Gersham Hunt, the  later of which was the brother of Isaac's neighbor on Cedar Creek, Andrew Hunt. Gersham Hunt would eventually go on to cofound the Liberty Methodist Church in Williamson County, Tennessee, one of the oldest Methodist congregations in that state.

1798 Rowan County, NC Deed~John Hill to Isaac Jones

1801 Rowan County, NC Deed~Isaac Jones to William Graham

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Isaac Jones in Virginia???

The first obstacle one must get past when examining the whereabouts of Isaac Jones prior to 1801, is the illusion that Isaac was in Surry County, North Carolina as early as the 1780's. This belief finds it's origin with the presence of an Isaac Jones on the 1790 Census for Surry County, in addition to, several deeds going back to the 1780's involving an Isaac Jones purchasing land in the far northern part of the county around Tom's Creek and the Dan River. This same Isaac Jones is believed to also have purchased land and resided at times across the state line in Grayson County, Virginia leading some researchers to even  speculate that Isaac, the subject of this blog, had come to North Carolina from Virginia. Upon closer examination, the truth of the matter is that the Isaac Jones in Surry County records prior to 1801 was in fact a Quaker father and son team both named Isaac Jones. The elder of the two resided in Grayson County, Virginia while his son lived along Tom's Creek in Surry County, North Carolina until his death on March 12, 1791 as recorded in the Westfield Meeting minutes serving the Quaker community located on Tom's Creek. Quaker records also show that this particular Jones family arrived at the Cane Creek Meeting House in Orange County, North Carolina before 1762 and were eventually granted certificate to relocate to the Mount Pleasant Quaker community in Grayson County, Virginia on December 4, 1773. Not long after this is when you begin to see an Isaac Jones pop up in the Surry County land records involving land purchases near the Quaker settlement along Tom's Creek just across the border. The younger Isaac's death in 1791 and the absence of any Isaac Jones on the 1800 Census for Surry County is further evidence that this is nothing more than a case of mistaken identity.

The 1850 Federal Census


There's probably no better place to start than the 1850 Federal Census for Calloway County, Kentucky. 

It's really only one of a couple known documents to exist that even remotely addresses the earliest origins of Isaac Jones and is the most common document for people to cite as a source of this info. But how accurate is it really and how much should it be taken at face value?

When the federal census was first designed and laid out in Article 1 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution back in 1787 and eventually finalized in the passing of the Census Act in 1790, it originally called for U.S. marshals and their assistants to act as enumerators and required they travel the countryside collecting info from house to house; a task that took 18 months when first done in 1790 with a population return of 3.9 million people. The original bill also set the rate of pay for assistants at one dollar for every one hundred and fifty names returned if the people resided in the country and one dollar for every three hundred names returned if the people resided in a city of five thousand or more people. The U.S. marshals were given a one time single payment of anywhere from one hundred to three hundred and fifty dollars. With a system designed around the premise of more names equals more money, if you weren't home when the enumerator happened to come by, your information was most likely obtained from your nearest neighbor regardless of how many miles away and mainly to the best of his knowledge. It wouldn't be long before further legislation had to be passed in an attempt to curtail the massive amounts of false census entries being created by enumerators, but even this wouldn't guarantee the government that they would make every effort to go from house to house. Evidence of this abounds in the various census records taken over the years, with birth years shifting from census to census, frequent name variations being used, and birth locations that vary and jump all over the map.

Speaking of birth locations that actually run into this situation in regards to that of Isaac Jones. While the 1850 Census states Isaac was born in Maryland, fortunately for future researchers, his youngest son Joshua Douglas Jones lived to see the 1880 Census. The significant difference between the 1880 Census and all prior census years is that it was in this year that the birth location of your parents was included into the line of questioning. Oddly, Joshua states that both his father and mother were born in North Carolina, not Maryland.

But why put equal weight of truth in the statement of his son as in the words of the man himself? Closer examination of the information presented in the 1850 Census begins to throw up even more red flags pointing even further to the possibility that this info was delivered from a second source who may not have had their facts straight. For starters, how about Isaac's wife? Kissara? When you consider that her name was actually Keziah, and in some instances spelled Kesiah or Kisiah, Kissara barely falls into the realm of even being phonetically correct. In no other instance is it ever spelled like this. Could the enumerator's hearing or spelling really have been that bad? One would think that if this info came directly from her, the spelling would be phonetically closer based on pronunciation alone. Having been able to read and write, it most certainly wouldn't have come from Isaac. The next issue arises with her stated age of 78, which would put her as having been born around 1772. Considering her oldest child,  Jane A. Morris, from her one and only prior marriage to James Morris was born in 1817; are we really expected to believe that she had her first child at age 45 and continued on well into her 50's? While I guess not impossible, it's highly unlikely. The 1840 Census even shows her age as being as much as 10 years less than stated in 1850.

With Isaac himself having died at some point between the taking of this census on August 5, 1850 and March of the following year when his estate was being probated, county land records show that he or the family may have known the end was near as early as July of 1849. It is at this time that a deed is drawn up between Isaac's son Joshua and Isaac's son-in-law John Jeffrey who are acting as "the lawful attorneys for Isaac Jones" and Isaac's wife Keziah in which she "relinquishes all claims to his property in exchange for the right to reside until her death on the 160 acre parcel of land they currently live on." Could it be that Isaac had possibly become ill or incapacitated as early as 1849, leaving us with the possibility that someone else provided the data on the 1850 Census? What you're essentially left with here is what amounts to a fifty percent chance he was from Maryland and a fifty percent chance he was from North Carolina. Having examined the possibilities under both contexts, it would seem to me that it's more likely Isaac Jones was born in North Carolina and not Maryland as commonly stated and widely believed. Evidence of this fact I believe can be found in Isaac's involvement with the Methodist religion and his whereabouts prior to arriving in Surry County, North Carolina in 1801.