Thomas Thames c1700-1758 – Research in early records – NJ-VA-NC

This post is my space to store my notes regarding records found for Thomas Thames and any other possible early Thames I find as I research Thomas. As I search, I will ignore the surname “Thomas” unless the time and place corroborate.  

Here’s the map of migrations outlined in this report.

In a nutshell, we’re looking at Little Egg Harbor Monthly Meeting, which was (and still is) located at Tuckerton NJ, then to Catoctin Mountain, which is located in today’s Loudoun County VA, down to Carteret County NC, and finally to Cumberland/Bladen County NC. This map shows routes based on today’s highway system, so this isn’t necessarily the route Thomas would have followed. In fact, it’s quite possible that he traveled by the Atlantic Ocean and bays and rivers to get from Tuckerton to Loudoun County, and from Loudoun to Carteret County.

So, let’s dive in.

1732 – Prince William County, VA  Deed Book Liber A, p 360-361:  17 Sep 1732, recorded 21 Sep 1732, Lease:  Richard Wood of Prince William County, planter, 100 acres to William Pirsey, for consideration of 5 shillings, plus 1 peppercorn to be paid each year on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.  Witnesses:  Cavan Dulaney, Thomas Barton, Thomas Thems

1732 – Prince William County, VA  Deed Book Liber A, p 361-364:  21 Sep 1732, recorded 21 Sep 1732, Release, Bargain and Sale: Richard Wood of Prince William, planter, the same 100 acres as the lease above to William Pirsey, for consideration of 10 lbs.  Witnesses:  Cavan Dulaney, Thomas Barton, Thomas Thems.  Richard’s wife Martha releases dower.  Note:  In the margin at the beginning of this deed, the deed is noted as “Richd Woods Release To Wm Perseys Oct. 7. 1738. [illegible, possibly “dd” or “td” Jno. Shirman C[illeg., “Clerk”?]

1732 – Prince William County, VA  Deed Book Liber A, p 364-365:  20 Sep 1732, recorded 21 Sep 1732, Lease: Richard Wood of Prince William County, planter, 100 acres to Thomas Thems of same, for consideration of 5 shillings, plus 1 peppercorn to be paid on the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel.  Witnesses:  Cavan Dulany, Thomas Barton, William Piercy.  Description of land:  Beginning at a marked white oak standing on the [illeg] of the Kiteckton mountain Corner tree to the said Land of Woods extending thence East 40 poles to a red Oak standing on the side of the said mountain thence North 27 d[degrees] East 30 poles to a Red oak thence North 47 West 322 Poles to a marked red Oak the Line of the main Tract of Land thence South seventeen degrees 110 poles to a red oak on a hill thence South 45 East 202 Poles to the beginning.

1732 – Prince William County, VA  Deed Book Liber A, p 366-368:  21 Sep 1732, recorded 21 Sep 1732, Release, Bargain and Sale: Richard Wood of Prince William, planter, the same 100 acres as the lease above to Thomas Thems, for consideration of 10 lbs.  Witnesses:  Cavan Dulaney, Thomas Barton, William Piercy.  Richard’s wife Martha releases dower.  Description of land:  Beginning at a marked white oak standing on the side of the Kiteckton mountain Corner tree to the said Land of Woods extending thence East 40 poles to a red Oak standing on the side of the said mountain thence North 27 d[degrees] East 30 poles to a Red oak thence North 47 West 322 Poles to a marked red Oak the Line of the main Tract of Land thence South seventeen degrees 110 poles to a red oak on a hill thence South 45 East 202 Poles to the beginning.

Notes on geographic location in historical context:  Kiteckton Mountain is likely Catoctin Mountain, which presently traverses Frederick County, MD southwestward into Loudoun County, VA.  At the time the 1732 leases and sales were made, Prince William County encompassed all of the northern portion of Virginia, but was divided to form Fairfax County in 1742, and Loudoun County was formed from Fairfax County in 1757.

1734 – Prince William County, VA  Deed Book Liber D p 117-119:  28 Jan 1734, recorded 21 Sep 1732, Lease: Thomas Thems* of Prince William, planter, to John Mead*, Carpenter, of said County and Henry Ballinger of Monoqasie [Monocacy] in Prince Georges County in the province of Maryland, planter, consideration of 5 shillings silver, plus one grain of Indian corn each year for 3 years on the 10th of December, the same 100 acres as the lease above from Wood to Thems.  Witnesses:  Amos Janney, John Gordon, Richard Abrill.  

Important information about the recording of this lease, immediately beneath the witnesses and Thomas’s signature, is written:  

At a Court continued & held for Prince William County the eighteenth day of July 1734.

This Lease from Thomas Thems planter & Mercy his wife to John Mead, Carpenter, was proved by the Oaths of Richard Abrill & John Gordon two of the witnesses thereto which on the motion of the said John Mead is Ordered to be Certified.

Test. Catesby Cooke Clk

At a Court held for Prince William County May 28, 1739.  This Lease was further proved by the Solemn Affirmation of Amos Janney a Quaker one of the Witnesses hereto to be the Act & deed of Thomas Thems & was thereupon admitted to Record.

Test. Catesby Cooke Clk

*The clerk who copied the lease into the deed book writes all his lower-case “e” identically as his lower-case “o” – such that “year” is spelled “yoar”, “sovereign” is spelled “sovoroign,” etc.  Since the property in the deed immediately above is the same as the property sold by Wood to Thems, “Thomas Thoms” as it appears in the deed books is “Thomas Thems.”

1734 – Prince William County, VA  Deed Book Liber D p 119-122:  29 Jan “in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven hundred & thirty three four,” recorded 18 Jul 1734, Release, Bargain and Sale:  Thomas Thems planter & Mercy his wife to John Mead of the said County Carpenter and Henry Ballinger of Monoqusie in Prince George’s County in the province of Maryland Planter, in consideration of the sum of forty pounds, the same land described above but with additional clarification as such, “all that tract or parcel of land lying &  being on the branches of Kittockton run amongst the broken hills about ten miles from Goose Creek…”  Witnesses:  Amos Janney, John Gordon, Richd Abrill.  Signed by both Thomas Thems and Mercy Thems.  Note:  In the margin at the beginning of this deed, the deed is noted as “Thems To Mead & Ballinger Release.  Augt 9th 1740 [illeg.] dd Jno Mead [further confirming the written o’s are actually e’s] 

And the recording of the deed: 

At a Court continued & held for Prince William County the eighteenth day of July 1734.

This Release from Thomas Thems planter and Mercy his wife to John Mead Carpenter was provied by the Oaths of Richard Abrill & John Gordon two of the witnesses thereto which on the motion of the said Mead is Ordered to be Certified.

Test. Catesby Cooke Clk

At a Court held for Prince William County May 28, 1739.

This Release was further proved by the Solemn Affirmation of Amos Janney a Quaker one of the witnesses hereto to be the Act & deed of Thomas Thems and Mercy his wife and was thereupon admitted to Record.

Test. Catesby Cooke Clk

A note of interest:  Amos Janney, the Quaker, does not affirm the signatures of Thomas and Mercy until five years after the date of the deed.

About Amos Janney, the Quaker and the movements of Quakers into Virginia:  According to “Quaker Migration from Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Hopewell Monthly Meeting, 1732-1759,” by Thomas H. Fawcett, published in Bulletin of Friends’ Historical Association (August 1937, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 102-108) (available on JSTOR.com) in about 1732, Amos Janney led a group of Quakers from the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (encompassing areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey) the short distance south to Prince William County VA, where the Hopewell Monthly Meeting was founded, and from it within a few short years (due to so many Quakers following Janney), additional meetings sprang from Hopewell.  Unfortunately, in 1759 all the Hopewell Monthly Meeting records were burned in a fire.

Also according Fawcett’s article, prior to Janney’s migration, in 1725, Josiah and Henry Ballinger from Salem Monthly Meeting in West Jersey settled in Maryland at Monocacy, which was near the Potomac.  The distance from the Monocacy settlement to the Hopewell settlement was “scarcely fifty miles, and several of the first settlers at Hopewell lived previously at Monocacy.” 

Fawcett continues that in 1730, the Nottingham Monthly Meeting petitioned the Governor and Council of Virginia for a grant of 100,000 acres on Opequon Creek in the Shenandoah Valley, which they would receive provided that they seat 1 family per 1,000 acres.  Two years later, they provided proof of 70 families and received grants of 70,000 acres.  Other petitions by Quakers were made for the same purpose, in the same region of the Shenandoah.  The new settlement was called the Hopewell Monthly Meeting, finally formally established in 1735.  Members from the Nottingham Monthly Meeting who were living in the bounds of the Hopewell Monthly Meeting in 1735 became members of Hopewell without record of transfer being made since it was merely a matter of boundary changes.  Among them was a name familiar to Thames (et al) researchers:  Stephen Hollingsworth.  Also transferred was Henry Ballinger (presumably of the above deeds).  After 1744, however, the next southward Quaker migration took place, to North Carolina, primarily to Cane Creek and New Garden Monthly meetings.

Another record for Marcy:  In the New Jersey minutes of the Little Egg Harbor Monthly Meeting Women’s minutes (Ocean County), in the second month 1733 (which would be April), “their was request made for a cirtificate for Marcy Thims this meeting apoints Abigal Cramer and Margary Recange to inquier into her conversation and mak Report to the next meeting.”  But at the next meeting and subsequent meetings, there is no report.  Is it possible she was requesting to transfer to a new monthly meeting?  Possibly to the burgeoning meeting in Prince William County, Virginia?

Core Sound Monthly Meeting was in the vicinity of New Bern, and we next see Thomas surface when, on 13 Sep 1741, he purchases 80 acres from William Carruthers in neighboring Beaufort County, North Carolina (Beaufort County, NC Deed Book 2 pp 417-418).

Then, in 1744, Thomas (noted as Planter in the deed, which to me says he’s already established there…???) purchases in Craven County, from William Wilkinson, 100 acres on Flat Swamp.  This parcel of land he wills to his son Thomas and which Thomas later sells.

In the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, vol. 1, the earliest dates for records for individuals at the Core Sound MM, which included Quaker Meeting Houses in both Carteret and Craven Counties, are for the following individuals (these are the earliest records in Hinshaw’s entries for Core Sound, even though Core Sound was established by 1733, per Hinshaw) :

1737- William Hill and wife received on certificate 

1738 – Marcy Thems, cert read in mtg. [This means, based on my research, that she received a certificate from the monthly meeting she left and it was read at her new monthly meeting, Core Sound]

That’s it.  The next record is dated 1741.

Next, in 1748, in the Craven County, NC County Court Minutes, Thos. Thems is listed as a grand juror for the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions 1742-1748 (Book III 644-44 – this book is not online and I am quoting from “The Thames Family of North Carolina Circa 1735 to 1850” by Walter S. and Maxine C. Gabennesch, second edition 15 Nov 2006, of which I have a copy).

After this, we find Thomas purchasing land in Bladen County in 1750, and the history from this point on is well documented.

What are we to make of this Thomas Thems and his wife Mercy?  Circle back to the Quaker record of Mercy Thems’ certificate being read at the Core Sound Monthly Meeting (Carteret County NC) in the 10th month of 1738, which would be December.  Could she perhaps be Mercy the first wife of our Thomas Thames of the Prince William County VA deeds?  After all, we don’t know when Thomas married Prudence, and she could very well have been a second wife.  After they sold their 100 acres in VA in 1734, where did they go?  There are no further deeds for Thomas in Prince William County, albeit Deed Book C (1736-1737) is missing. As we know, Thomas had a daughter named Marcy, but 1738 is far too early for his daughter to be having a letter read at a monthly meeting.

This is a work in progress that will be continually updated right here.  Any and all pertinent research contributions are welcome and proper credit will be given to researchers who contribute.

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