Monday, August 5, 2013

Evidence of Thomas Ashley in Bertie Co., North Carolina

Thomas Ashley, Jr. c 1710 – Aug 1790 NC
Son of Thomas Ashley

Before my recent visit to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in Charlotte, NC I knew very little about Thomas Ashley, my 7th great grandfather. My son & I went to the shelves to find information about Bertie County, NC. We slid an assortment of books off the shelves and carried them over to our table. We were initially looking for Humphrey Lawrence and we quickly found him. Happily we also found his father-in-law, Thomas Ashley, Jr.

Court Records involving Thomas Ashley, Jr.

c 1724 – 23. Thomas Ashley Senior & Junior are shown to be overseers. Source: Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes (Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions) 1724 thru 1739. Book I, North Carolina: 1976.

1742. A Deed of Sale was recorded for land from his father, Thomas Ashley Senior, to himself. Source: Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740 thru 1743; 1758 thru 1762. Book II. North Carolina: 1977.

c 1772. “Ordered that Thomas Ashley be appointed Gardien [sic] to Nathaniel Larrence [sic] on his giving security in the sum of Six hundred pounds which Security is accordingly given by Frederick Lawrence Asah? Larrence [sic]” Nathaniel Lawrence [1766 – 1849] was the son of Humphrey Lawrence who died in 1772 when Nathaniel was only six years old. Thomas Ashley was Nathaniel’s grandfather. Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1772 thru 1780. Book IV, Durham, North Carolina: 1979.

1790. “A Deed of Sale of Land from Thomas Ashley to Amos Harris was proved in due form of Law by the Oath of Fredk. Lawrence one of those subscribing Witnesses and ordered to be registered. Likewise an assignment from Amos Harris to Thomas & Eliza. Ashley was proved by Fredk. Lawrence.” [I wonder if this Amos Harris is Amos Harrill, grandson of Thomas Ashley as mentioned in his will.] Haun, Weynette Parks. Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1788 thru 1792. Book VI, Durham, North Carolina. From the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte, NC, page 61.

The Will of Thomas Ashley, Jr.

Almasy, Sandra Lee. Bertie County, North Carolina Wills 1781 - 1797. Joliet, Illinois: Kensington Glen Publishing, pages 97 – 98.

The will, written 9 October 1784 & proved in August 1790 names some family members:

Daughter, Elizabeth Boulton. I had her first name. This gave me her married name. “First I give to my daughter Elizabeth Boulton one Negro woman Named Lucrie.”

Daughter, Mary Hodgeson. I had her first name. This gave me her married name. “I give to my Daughter Mary Hodgeson one Feather Bed & furniture & one chest made of sweet gumwood & one small Black walnut table & three Sows & pigs.”

Grandson Amos Harrill. I wonder who his mother was. Did one of the daughters, above, marry twice? “I give my Granson [sic] Amos Harrill the land & plantation whereon I now live containing one hundred & Twenty five acres to him his heirs & assigns forever I likewise give unto the said Amos Harrill one Negro man named Jack & one Negro man named Nedd & all the remaining part of my estate that is not given away before.”

Wife Elizabeth Ashley. Bevin Creel’s book gives Thomas Ashley’s wife as Ann Hicks. Was he married twice? Was her name Elizabeth Ann Hicks? “…my wife Elizabeth Ashley shall have possess and enjoy all & every part of my estate during her natural life & after her decease to be divided as above.”

Thomas Ashley’s other daughter, Ann (Ashley) Lawrence, wife of Humphrey Lawrence, was not named in the will. Perhaps this is because Thomas gave Ann & Humphrey Lawrence Land on the west side of Cashoke Swamp in 1747.

The Estate of Thomas Ashley, Jr.

After returning home I went online to learn more about Bertie County NC records. I discovered that Family Search has a long list of resources. When I clicked on the Probate link I found ‘Bertie County Estate Records, indexed by Names’. Thomas Ashley was there.

Inventory of Thomas Ashley’s Estate

2 Negros, 5 head of cattle, 30 head of hogs, 2 beds and bedsteads, 13 sheets, 3 blankets, 3 pillows, 7 pillowcases, 1 bed quilt, 1 rug, 63 yards of homespun, 3 tables and 3 chests, 1 chest of drawers, 1 case and bottles, 2 linen wheels, 2 woolen wheels, 1 hat box and 3 old boxes, 2 butter dishes, 14 plates, 20 spoons,  1 pan, 1 Dutch oven, 1 skillet, 1 pair of tongs, 1 ax and plow, 10 cups and saucers, 2 milk pots, 2 mugs, 2 pitchers, 1 stone pot, 1 cream pot, 2 glass tumblers, 13 teaspoons, 1 sugar box, 1 knife box, 1 hand saw, 1 lantern, 2 chamber pots, 160 weight of bacon, 30 weight of fat, 1 barrel of corn, 2 bushels of wheat, 3 barrels, 15 baskets, 3 tablecloths, 2 towels, 2 sides of leather, 20 weights of cotton, 5 pounds of flax

There are more items in the inventory but the handwriting is difficult to read and the spelling is not the best. The estate inventory is signed by Amos Harri--.The last letters are hard to read and I wonder if it should be Harrill, the grandson of Thomas Ashley.

When I shared the inventory findings with my son he was interested in the items, especially because he and his wife are in the process of packing up their North Carolina apartment and moving back to New York State. His inventory & his 8th great grandfather’s inventory are very different!

It has been very interesting finding these evidences of our family in the Tar Heel State, even before it was a state. As someone who has grown up in the Northeast it is fun to see how far my roots stretch.

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  1. Colleen,

    According to the book "NC Wills" by Thornton Mitchell, Amos Harrell has a WILL recorded in 1806 in Will Book "F" page 11.
    Humphrey Lawrence WB "A", PAGE 156

    1. Charlie, I do have Humphrey Lawrence's will. Thanks! You will see it in a blog post coming up soon.

  2. Wow -- look at all those findings. That was really a good trip for you.

    1. Yes, Wendy. Plus I have the chance to spend a day with my son.


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