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

Monday, October 22, 2012

The James Whitlock Family of Rowan & Surry County, NC...Part 2


So I ended my last post discussing how the widow and family of James Whitlock Sr. had left Rowan County and resettled just to the north in Surry County, NC at some point in the 1780's. But at exactly what point? The earliest mention of any Whitlocks in Surry County that I've been able to locate is the 1772 Tax List where you find a Nathaniel Whitlock listed. I have no idea who this gentleman is or if there is any relation to James Whitlock. The next individual to appear in the county records is a Charles Whitlock who is found receiving a 640 acre grant on the waters of Snow Creek on April 3, 1780. It's important to make note of the date and watercourse mentioned, because at the time, this area would have been located in the far northeastern section of Surry which ultimately became the far northeastern section of Stokes County in 1789. This is quite a ways away from the Hunting Creek area of Surry County where the family of James Whitlock Sr. are known to have resettled.

The next person to emerge from the county records shows a little more promise, but at the same time provides just as many questions as answers. This would be the listing of a Silvis Whitlock on the 1782 Tax List for Capt. Gains District. It's pretty clear that James Whitlock's wife Sylvia was indeed a widow by this point, which is based on a petition she had made to Brigadier General Davidson on January 20, 1781 which states "the widow of James Whitlock requests the return of a Negro boy, and she wants to retain 20 bushels of corn demanded of her." Sylvia can also be found this same year making a claim for compensation in the Revolutionary War Army Accounts housed at the NC State Archives. With the very similar name and knowledge that Sylvia was a widow by this point, one might be quick to make the assumption that she is this "Silvis" listed in 1782. The first issue to arise from making this connection is once again location. The area of Surry County that was considered Capt. Gains District in 1782 later became what is today known as the township of Peters Creek in north central Stokes County. Once again, pretty far off the mark from the area of Hunting Creek where the family is known to have lived not very long after this point. With this "Silvis Whitlock" shown being taxed for 100 acres of land, 4 horses or mules, and 10 heads of cattle, signs of an obvious working farm and not just land owned, it's difficult to determine why Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock would have done this when she already owned a working 620 acre farm in Rowan County during this time, and for the next 8 years to come. Not only this, but the rest of her extended family and Methodist neighbors in the area of Dutchman's Creek all made the short 10 mile migration to the Hunting Creek area around this time. So why would she have chose an area so far removed, only to end up in the same area as everyone else just a few years later?

The first individual to appear in the Surry County records that is known to be related to this family is James and Sylvia's son John Whitlock. On September 5, 1787 he can be found acting as a witness along with James Hudspeth and Henry Speer for a land transaction between Thomas Cain and wife Lelah and a man named George Brooks. The land is described as being on Harmon's Creek which lies between the towns of Yadkinville and Hamptonville and eventually connects to South Deep Creek. Definitely the right geographic area for the James Whitlock family. Despite being in the county in 1787 and being shown listed as "of Surry County" in 1790 when he sells his father's land on Dutchman's Creek, he doesn't appear on the 1790 Census for the area or the county tax lists until 1793. In fact, the only Whitlock to show up on the 1790 Census for Surry County is a William Whitlock. I would tend to believe that he shares a connection to this family based on his close proximity to James, John, and Thomas Whitlock ten years later on the 1800 Census. I've often wondered if he might be the same William Whitlock arrested in Rowan County in 1774 for producing and passing counterfeit money and a possible brother to James Whitlock Sr.

Since I've brought up the 1800 Census, now is as good of time as any for me to make the statement that I believe James, John, and Thomas to all be sons of James and Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock. The first mention of a Thomas Whitlock in Surry County is found in a deed dated March 24, 1788 between James Meredith and William Martin. With the land being on Crooked Creek which ended up in the far northeastern corner of Stokes County the following year, I don't believe this to be the correct Thomas Whitlock. With the William Martin who purchased the land showing up on the 1790 Census for Stokes County on the same page as Charles Whitlock, I tend to believe this Thomas is actually part of that group of Whitlocks. William Martin and this Thomas Whitlock are mentioned together once again in a deed dated September 15, 1789 acting as witnesses for the sale of land between John Childress and wife Nancy and a David Dalton. Once again this land is listed on Crooked Creek and adjacent the Virginia line. The correct Thomas Whitlock makes his first appearance in the Surry County records on November 9, 1795 when he purchases 128 acres on the North Fork of Dutchman's Creek in from William Steelman. The land is described as "adjoining the Rowan County line, Thomas Cook, and Jesse Reavis." Later land and tax records would seem to indicate that the amount of land was actually 130 acres. The following year a deed is written up in Surry County on May 7, 1796 showing Thomas Whitlock selling 80 acres of land on Dutchman's Creek to a George Moore of Rowan County which was witnessed by John Reavis and William Steelman. I don't believe the 80 acres he sold in 1796 was part of his 128 acre purchase from William Steelman because when Thomas makes his first appearance in the Surry County tax lists in 1796 for Captain Hudspeth's District, and the following year, he is shown still owning 130 acres of land and listed adjacent his brother James Whitlock. By 1798, county tax lists show him having acquired an additional 95 acres on Hunting Creek which was finalized in a deed from Matthew Brooks of Stokes County on September 16, 1799. This land was later sold to Reuben McDaniel on November 11, 1815. Reuben McDaniel was the brother of Isaac Jones' son Wiley's wife Nancy. The tax list for 1799 once again shows Thomas owning 225 acres in Surry County, but more importantly, it shows him listed adjacent Bennet Wood.

As I believe I've mentioned before, Bennet Wood was the son of the Stephen Wood who acted as a witness for both of the Rowan County deeds involving the sale of the land once owned by James Sr. and Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock. With Bennet Wood's proximity to Thomas Whitlock on the 1799 Tax List, I would say it's very likely that the Betsy Whitlock he married in Surry County on November 30, 1799 is the sister of Thomas Whitlock and thus a child of James Sr. and Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock. I think further weight is added to my theory with Bennet Wood's acting as bondsman for the May 17, 1799 Surry County marriage of Thomas Whitlock to Mary Ponsonbay. The deed that really pulls James, John, and Thomas Whitlock together can be found in Surry County and was written up on New Years Day in the year 1803. On this day Thomas Whitlock can be found selling his 1795 130 acre purchase on the North Fork of Dutchman's Creek to a man named Joshua Brown with John and James Whitlock acting as witnesses. The connection between John and James Whitlock is cemented even further with the November 15, 1803 court judgement against the two men who are being sued by Joseph Smith and ordered to pay "26 pounds 9 shillings and costs."


Surry County, NC Court Minutes ~ November 15, 1803


While on the topic of Surry County marriages, I believe it's also a pretty safe assumption that the Mary Whitlock who married John Anthony on February 26, 1799 is also a daughter of James Sr. and Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock. This John Anthony was the son of Thomas Anthony, and brother to David Anthony, as stated in Thomas' Surry County will dated October 8, 1816. It is this David Anthony that people widely view as having married a Sylvia Whitlock in 1788, and that he and his brother John eventually left Surry County for Franklin County, Georgia around the year 1800. It's also generally believed that David Anthony was born on August 26, 1764 in Amherst County, Virginia which would make him a bit young to have married Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock as it would appear from all the deeds I discussed in my last post. I have yet to find an exact birth year or anything that even alludes to it for Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock, but based on those of her siblings and the possible birth years of her children, I feel it's safe to say it was sometime between 1745 and 1752.

For the sake of argument I'm going to assume that James and Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock might have had a daughter named Sylvia. Based on the Rowan County court records I discussed in my last post, Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock was still alive in 1788 for the settling of her husband's estate. We also know that by 1788 she was living in the Hunting Creek area of Surry County based on the vacant land entry made by Henry Speer that mentions the land being adjacent to "Sylvanus Whitlock". If the Sylvia Whitlock that married David Anthony was actually a daughter of Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock, one then has to determine how the couple ended up with her mother's entire 300 acre land grant in Rowan County which I discussed in my last post. Not very likely considering she would have had at least three brothers to contend with over that land, and that's assuming the mother Sylvia died at some point between 1788-1790. I should also point out that there are no existing records pointing to any sort of transfer of this land from Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock to David Anthony or anyone else for that matter.

David Anthony is the only "Anthony" that appears in Surry County records in 1790. There are two vacant land entry records for a Thomas Anthony dated February 1, 1783 for land on the waters of Deep Creek, but by the time the grants were issued in 1789 and 1801 he had already sold them, one to Francis Clayton and one to Drury Holcomb. Because of this and the fact that he doesn't appear on any of the pre-1790 county tax records, it's difficult to say whether he actually ever occupied the land. As with the census, David Anthony is the first to make an appearance in the tax records in 1790, shown being taxed for one white poll and owning 300 acres of land. It's not until 1793 that you see Thomas Anthony make his first appearance on the county tax list in Capt. Hudspeth's District along with his son James. David Anthony is also listed, now shown owning 385 acres. Interestingly enough, I've never been able to locate any documents related to how he came to own or sell this land. The fact that David Anthony drops from the tax record completely between 1794-1797 and his father Thomas shows back up with 390 acres, I'd be inclined to believe David transferred or sold it to him. It's not until 1798 that he reappears with 200 acres, which would coincide with his 1798 purchase on Hunting Creek from Isaac Mize. The tax records for Capt. Hudspeth's District that span 1790-1797 do seem to indicate a family connection between David and Thomas, as well as what I can only think to call.....inter-family land switcheroo. Here are the Anthonys and their land acreage as they show between those years. (an "X" means the individual is absent from the tax list)

                 1791    1792   1793   1794   1795   1796   1797
David         300      300     385       X        X         X         X
Thomas        X          X      200       X       390     390     390
James           X          X         0      200     200     200     400

As I mentioned earlier, David Anthony makes a return to the county tax lists for the years 1798-1800 shown being taxed for 200 acres which he purchased from Isaac Mize and later sold to James Parks in 1800. The county court minutes provide pretty clear evidence that this is the same David Anthony on the tax lists for the years 1790-1800. On May 14, 1793, the courts ordered that "David Gault be appointed overseer of the road in the room of David Anthony" which coincides with his disappearance from the tax list the following year. This would be the same David Gault mentioned owning land adjacent the 200 acres David Anthony would later purchase in 1798 from Isaac Mize.

Now what about the 1790 Census listing for David Anthony. The first thing that catches my eye is that the household seems strangely crowded for a newlywed couple of only two years. There is one male over the age of 16 which is of course David Anthony, but then there is one male under 16 and four females. Now there's a couple of different ways to view this living situation, but I believe it represents David Anthony the son of Thomas Anthony, his wife Sylvia Whitlock who is a daughter of Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock, his wife's younger brother Thomas Whitlock, her two sisters Betsy and Mary, and then the mother-in-law Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock. This might explain how Sylvia's daughter and husband came about selling her mother's 300 acre grant in Rowan County. It's quite likely that it may have been gifted to them somehow as a means of financial support for taking in and housing her and her underage or unmarried children. Some may also make the case that the "one male under 16" is David and Sylvia Anthony's son Martin who is thought to have been born around this time.

David Anthony drops from the Surry County records entirely after 1800, so it's difficult to argue against the 1801 first appearance of a David Anthony on the Franklin County, Georgia tax list for Captain Moses Wilcoxes Company. When one also sees a John Anthony, and more importantly a Bennet Wood listed in the same tax list company, it becomes pretty clear that these are the two sons of Thomas Anthony and the three men had most likely married Whitlock sisters.

The document that seals the deal for me that David Anthony married a daughter of Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock named Sylvia, and not Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock herself, can be found in the Surry County Records of Inventories & Accounts of Sales. Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock's son James eventually married a woman named Nancy Bowen whose mother Sarah married a man named Phillip Howard upon the death of her first husband. When Sarah Howard died in Surry County in 1828, it was James Whitlock who administered her estate. The document I mentioned is the inventory of the estate and eventual selling of it's items where you find a Silvey Whitlock purchasing two dishes, one bottle, and one other illegible item for $1.62. By this point in time, Sylvia (Jones) Whitlock would have most likely been in her late 70's so it's entirely possible that this could be her. With the presence of a woman over 45 in the household on the 1810 Census, it would seem to indicate that she was possibly living with her son James after David Anthony and her daughter left for Georgia in 1800.

.......to be continued.


1795 Surry County, NC Deed ~ William Steelman to Thomas Whitlock (page 1)

1795 Surry County, NC Deed ~ William Steelman to Thomas Whitlock (page 2)

1796 Surry County, NC Deed ~ Thomas Whitlock to George Moore

1799 Surry County, NC Deed ~ Matthew Brooks to Thomas Whitlock

1803 Surry County, NC Deed ~ Thomas Whitlock to Joshua Brown (page 1)

1803 Surry County, NC Deed ~ Thomas Whitlock to Joshua Brown (page 2)

1815 Surry County, NC Deed ~ Thomas Whitlock to Reuben McDaniel (page 1)

1815 Surry County, NC Deed ~ Thomas Whitlock to Reuben McDaniel (page 2)

1828 Surry County, NC ~ Inventory of the Estate of Sarah Howard           

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