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This is a working theory for which feedback and collaboration are very welcome. It will be updated as new records are discovered.
Deed records point to the existence of a second Jesse Thames. We already know of the Jesse named in his father Joseph’s will, 1780. But it appears that there was another Jesse, maybe just a little older than Joseph’s son Jesse, and if the law of primogeniture is followed, then it appears the second Jesse was Cornelius’s son.
Records involving Jesse in chronological order:
11 Mar 1775 – Jesse Thembs no. 2525 – Land warrant, 640 acres between Plummers and Epies Creeks, book 25 p 255, grant 1031 issued 11 Mar 1775 – – This land is described as 250 acres in Bladen, between Plummers and Espies Creeks SoW of the NoW River Beginning at a pine Isaac Simm’s Beginning and Joseph Thembs corner and runs thence with Thimbs line So 38 Et 100 Chains and 25 links to a stake among three pines his other corner then West 40 Chains Then So 51 Wt 52 Chains and 50 links then No 29 Wt 87 Chains to Stephen Butlers lower back corner then with his and Simms line No 80 (60?) E 74 Chains and 73 links to a stake among two pines a white oak and black oak Simm’s corner then with his other line No. 10 Wt to the Beginning.
11 Mar 1775 – Jesse Thembs no. 2783 land warrant, 640 acres in Bladen County between Plummer’s & Espie’s Creeks SW of the NW River beginning at a pine Isaac Simm’s beginning and Joseph Thimbs Corner & runs thence with Thimbs Bladen… Grant 1031 issued 11 Mar 1775 book 25 p 171 – this warrant is identical to the warrant and grant no. 2525 above.
4 May 1776 – Bladen County NC Deed Book 37 p 37-39 – To all whom these present shall come. Joseph Thames & Martha his wife of the county & province afs’d send greeting. Whereas the sd Joseph Thames & Martha his wife, for and in consideration of the sum of 300 lbs. proclamation money to them in hand pd or secured to be pd & before the ensealing & delivery of these presents by Jesse Thames of the county & provence above written…one parcel or tract of land on Espies [Creek] where the sd Jesse Thames now lives beginning at a stake on the creek bank & runs up the various courses of the creek to a stake near the sd creek then E 5 W 14 ch [chains] & 17 lks [links] to a stake at the road. then So 83 W to the Marsh the number of acres not known & also one saw mill standing thereon & also one half of the survey of 167 acres in the Marsh & over also one half of another tract of land on the fore part of a tract of land containing 640 acres situate on the back of land patent by McDaniel & Gray on the lower or Western side of sd creek, beginning at a line [pine?] west of McDaniel’s line, So 20 E 1 ch & 45 lks to a stake in Gray’s upper line No of that So 70 W 60 ch & 25 lks to his corner – then with his back So 20 ch & 50 lks to Neill Gray’s upper line – with that & sd Cooper’s line of another survey So 70 W 300 ch & 47 lks then with the back line of sd patent No 20 75 ch & 50 lks to Jesse Newberry’s corner, then with his line So 805 & 30 E 15 to the beginning. Containing 320 acres by estimation be the same more or less being on half thereof conveyed by these presents to Jesse Thames his heirs & assigns with the above mentioned land & premises as afsd lying west of the No-W in the county & provence afsd… Joseph Thames (his mark), Martha Thames (her mark). Witnesses: Wil. Godfrey and Benjn Cooper. Acknowledge at court Nov 1778.
20 Feb 1779 – Bladen County NC Deed Book 37 p 107 – Jesse Thames of Bladen Co to John Beard, 100 lbs, 320 acres, which is the eastern part of a tract of land in Bladen Co on the SW side of the NW River which was granted to Jesse by patent dated 11 Mar 1775, recorded in the Secty’s office in Book xxx[sic] p 172, said patent being for 640 acres. Jesse makes stipulations in the deed, saying he is transferring the property to Beard “except the duties thereon now due & to become due & the pine timber fit for the saw mill is hereby reserved for my father Joseph Thames on 220 acres if he shall take them away when required.” Witnesses: William Thames and William Clark. Proved May Term 1779. This Jesse is clearly the son of Joseph and Martha.
2 ___ 1779 (month of deed not written in the deed book) – Bladen County NC Deed Book 37 p 131 – Jesse Thimbs of Bladen Co to Jas Marsh of same, on the SW side of the NW River 2 or 3 miles from the river being the southern side of a patent of 640 acres Granted by patent dated March 11th 1775, the part hereby intended to be conveyed begins at a stake among 3 pines the SE corner of sd patent & runs with the line thereof W 40 chs then with the other line So 51 W 52 chs & 50 lks then with another of the patent line a stake among 3 pines then So 38 E 22 Chs & 95 lks to the beginning containing by estimation 160 acres more or less… No witnesses, proved by Jesse at May Term 1779 court.
Below is the deed that indicates Cornelius (Thomas’s eldest son) had a son named Jesse:
7 Aug 1779 – Bladen County DB 19 p 418-419 – No. 24, Joseph Themes to William Themes – This Indenture made this 7th day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & seventy nine, between Joseph Themes of Bladen County & Province of North Carolina, Planter, of the one part, & William Themes of the Province aforesaid, of the other part, Witnesseth, that the said Joseph Themes for & in consideration of the sum of One Hundred Pounds current money of North Carolina…hath granted…the piece & parcel of land containing one hundred & forty acres be the same more or less,
One piece lying & being in the County & Province aforesaid, One Piece on the South West side of the N. West River between Gray’s & Dunn’s lines, being a part of a tract patented by Heenry[sic] Sim’s, bearing date Anno Domini 1753 & was by him conveyed to John Stevens, & by the said Stevens to Jesse Themes & by the said Jesse Themes conveyed to Joseph Themes & is now conveyed by the said Joseph Themes to William Themes & his heirs & assigns forever Begins at a white oak on the River bank, Gray’s upper line & runs thence So. 70 W. 20 chs to John Newberry’s line & with it No. 20 W. 15 chs & 18 lks Dunn’s line & with it the river & down the river to the first station containing forty acres let the same be more or less.
The other piece of land lying & being in the county aforesaid on the South West side of the North West River of Cape Fear, a small distance below Themes Creek [previously and subsequently referred to in deeds as Dunn’s Creek], Beginning at a stake by the River side, thence No. 80 Wt 116 chs, thence So. 40 W. 10 chains then So. 80 Et 116 chains to the River, thence the various courses of the River to the first station containing one hundred acres ore or less being part of a tract of land Granted to Jun Dunn by Patent & by John Dunn conveyed to Richard Dunn & by Richard Dunn conveyed to Robert Dunn & by Robert Dunn conveyed to Thomas Themes in his last Will gave the same to his son Samuel Themes & he dying under age, it became the property of the aforesaid Jesse Themes as by Record may appear, the said Jesse Themes being thus lawfully possessed of the above mentioned lands conveyed them to Joseph Themes & is now conveyed by Joseph Themes to William Themes… signed Joseph Themes (his mark) and Martha Themes (her mark). Witnesses: David Hallaway, Sherwood Fort, Themes [Thomas] Themes. Provided November Term 1781 by David Hallaway.
- Important – The law of primogeniture says that the firstborn male is entitled to his father’s entire estate. Since we can pretty well rely on the idea that Cornelius was Thomas’s eldest son (being co-executor of Thomas’s will along with Thomas’s wife Prudence, and witnessing the 1750 deed wherein Thomas purchases land from Robert Dunn), Cornelius would stand to gain the land that would have gone to Samuel had he lived. Samuel died under age, so the land reverted to Thomas’s eldest child, Cornelius. But Cornelius had also died, so his eldest son would inherit the land. This chain of ownership tells me that Cornelius had a son Jesse, and that this Jesse was his eldest son.
- I cannot come up with a good reason why Joseph’s son Jesse would have come into this property. Joseph’s Jesse was a nephew to Samuel and Cornelius, and there’s no logical sense to his coming into ownership of the property before Joseph himself would have gotten it.
- We don’t know what year this particular Jesse sold the 40- and 100-acre tracts to Joseph, but the 40 acre tract would have been sold after 1772 or 1776, because that’s when Jesse purchased it from John Stevens, depending on which date in the deed book is correct.
25 Dec 1779 – Bladen County Land Entries 1778-1780 – Jesse Thims, no. 1307, patented 200 acres “Lying in the Great marsh joining Robert Rozar’s Line and Isaac Rozar Senr’s line and running down the marsh [“down” would be southeastwardly] for Complement.” If I am interpreting this correctly, this property was located in what is now Robeson County (formed from Bladen County in 1787), the “great marsh” now called “Big Swamp.” There is a road that runs along the south side of the Big Swamp called “Great Marsh Baptist Church Road.”
So far I’ve not found record of Jesse disposing of this 200 acre tract. The Great Marsh lies in what is now Robeson County. The 1808 Strother map of North Carolina shows the location of the marsh. Here’s a zoomed image, Great Marsh positioned more or less in the center:
27 Aug 1783 – Jesse Thims is issued Revolutionary War Pay Voucher no. 4387 in the Wilmington District for militia service, signed by Thomas Sewell and Thomas Routledge, and Lewis Holmes, Clerk.