Dennis Linchey/Lindsey (abt. 1700-1762): Post-Indenture Life in North Carolina to 1750

Jones, Edward to Dennis Lindsey, Edgecombe 1744 (Halifax DB 5, 213)
Deed of Edward Jones to Denis Linsey, 3 February 1744, Edgecombe County, North Carolina) (Halifax County, North Carolina Deed Bk. 5, p. 213)

Or, Subtitled: The Importance of Knowing County Boundary Changes as You Study Land Records

To sum up some salient points of the previous posting about Dennis Linchey’s/Lindsey’s post-indenture life in Virginia (abt. 1725-1734/5): once he was freed from indenture, likely about 1725, he did what we’d expect a young man recently freed from servitude to do:

  • He married — apparently between 1725-1730; we have no information on any wife or wives, however.
  • He settled in what was then the western frontier of Virginia, where land could be more easily acquired than in the Tidewater counties. By 1728, we find him trying to patent land in Spotsylvania County in an area that fell into Orange County in 1734, and it appears Dennis was living in at this time in what would later become Orange County.
  • He was unsuccessful at patenting land — a story that is, unfortunately, typical in the case of young recently freed servants in this period, who lacked money and social status; landowners with wealth and social prominence were buying large tracts in this area of Virginia in this period.
  • There are indicators that he was growing tobacco in Spotsylvania by the early 1730s, though I’ve found no documents demonstrating that he owned land in Virginia.
  • By 1733, it appears he was considerably in debt, and it appears likely that his decision to move to Edgecombe County, North Carolina, by 1744 (with a brief sojourn in Brunswick County, Virginia, it seems) may have had much to do with that fact.

Dennis Linchey’s/Lindsey’s story following his release from servitude is a story about the struggles formerly indentured people faced in this time and place as they sought to establish a life for themselves and their families.

The Move to North Carolina in the Early 1740s

In the early 1740s, North Carolina — in particular, the growing edge of its western frontier — had great appeal for Virginians and others seeking good land at good prices. As Joseph Kelly Turner and John Luther Bridgers note in their history of Edgecombe County, by 1740, a large influx of settlers, most of them Virginians, had begun to move to the area, attracted by the opportunity to buy land, houses, barns, and orchards at a good cost.[1] As David Goldfield notes, the takeover of the colony of North Carolina in 1729 by George II, who removed it from the control of the heirs of its original Proprietors, “generated a land bonanza” as the Crown made purchase of land cheaper and simpler, and sent out “the equivalent of real estate agents” to lure new settlers.[2]

By 1744, Dennis Lindsey had moved to Edgecombe, evidently accompanied by members of the Thornton family of North Farnham parish in Richmond County, Virginia, into which Dennis’ daughter Catherine would marry. As John Bennett Boddie notes, Roger’s brother Henry Thornton was in Orange County, Virginia, records up to 1738, and appears shortly after that date to have moved to the section of Edgecombe that became Granville County in 1746.[3] Henry Thornton made the move to North Carolina from Orange County, Virginia, along with the parents of his wife Catherine, Abraham Bledsoe and Catherine Ball.

Dennis Lindsey Establishes Himself on Sandy Creek in Granville (Later Franklin) County

Jones, Edward to Dennis Lindsey, Edgecombe 1744 (Halifax DB 5, 214)
Deed of Edward Jones to Denis Linsey, 3 February 1744, Edgecombe County, North Carolina) (Halifax County, North Carolina Deed Bk. 5, p. 214)

The first record I find for Dennis Lindsey (his name is given as Denis Linsey in this document) in Edgecombe County is a deed for his purchase of 200 acres of land there from Edward Jones on 3 February 1744. The land lay on the east side of Isinglass Creek, and had been patented to Jones on 25 July 1743. The deed states that both parties were of Edgecombe County and also indicates that the tract began on the creek at the mouth of Denis’s branch. Jones sold the land to Dennis Lindsey for £20 Virginia money, with John Martin and Samuel Murrey witnessing.[4]  (The first page, p. 213, of this deed is at the head of this posting.)

Several points about this deed demand attention. First, there’s the reference to Denis’s branch (and this reference will recur when Dennis sells this tract to John Brantley on 19 November 1746 — see below). This detail suggests to me that Dennis Lindsey was already living in Edgecombe County by the time he purchased this land, and had established himself there to the extent that a branch of Isinglass Creek had his name, though Thomas McAdory Owen mistakenly proposes that Dennis Lindsey appeared in the Edgecombe-Granville area only in 1746, while suggesting he may have been living there somewhat earlier than his appearance in records in the region.[5]

It’s also important to note that John Martin witnessed this first deed involving Dennis Lindsey in Edgecombe County. John Martin’s name (and that of his wife Rachel) will appear in other documents of Dennis Lindsey in Edgecombe-Granville Counties, suggesting that his family had some relationship to the Martins (certainly as neighbors, but also, one suspects, perhaps via other connections as well). John D. Hawkins reports that John Martin’s sister Delia married Philemon Hawkins in Brunswick County, Virginia, in 1743, having come there from an “upper county in Virginia.” At the time of this marriage, Delia was living with her brother John Martin on Sandy Creek in Edgecombe, later Franklin County, North Carolina — where, as we’ll see shortly, Dennis Lindsey established his family in 1746.[6] John and Delia were children of Zachariah Martin of Orange County, Virginia.

A note about Edward Jones, who also sold to John Martin 500 acres of land on Sandy Creek in Edgecombe (later Granville and eventually Franklin) County, North Carolina, on 19 Mary 1742:[7] according to Manly Wade Wellman, Edward Jones came to North Carolina from Gloucester County, Virginia, where he may have been acquainted with the family of Gideon Macon, a family with prominent branches in Granville County, North Carolina.[8] According to Wellman, Edward Jones married Abigail Sugan (a surname that also appears as Sugar/Sugars) of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and the family then settled on Shocco Creek in Edgecombe (later Warren) County near Philemon Hawkins and Gideon Macon (1715-1761), and began acquiring land on Sandy Creek.[9] As we’ll see later, in 1754 Dennis Lindsey appears in a muster list of those serving in Granville County under Capt. Sugan Jones, a son of Edward Jones and Abigail Sugan.

Edgecombe court minutes for May 1745 show us that Dennis Lindsey was living by that date in the vicinity of John Martin, and probably on Sandy Creek, though he did not purchase his tract there until the following year. In May 1745, the court appointed him to lay out a road from the road to Conway Creek, then to Sandy Creek near John Martin’s, and thence to Tar River; others in this road-work list include David Phillips, John Martin, and Wallis Jones.[10] Another list of road jurors for August 1745 also includes Dennis Lindsey.[11] In May 1746, court minutes note that Dennis Lindsey was among jurors appointed to lay a road from Conway Creek to Tar River near Joseph Simms, with Dennis Lindsey to oversee the road from Sandy Creek to Great Fishing Creek.[12]

Owen to Lindsey, 1746, Granville A, 11
Deed of Thomas Owen to Dinis Lindsey, 17 November 1746, Granville County, North Carolina (Granville County Deed Bk A, p. 11)
Owen to Lindsey, 1746, Granville A, 12
Deed of Thomas Owen to Dinis Lindsey, 17 November 1746, Granville County, North Carolina (Granville County Deed Bk A, p. 12)

On 17 November 1746, Dennis Lindsey (his name appears here as Dinis Lindsey) purchased a tract of 200 acres on Sandy Creek that we’ll find him selling (in a subsequent posting) in 1761 to James Strother of Culpeper County, Virginia. Thomas Owen sold to Dinis Lindsey, both of Granville County (which had been formed from Edgecombe in June 1746), 200 acres on the south side of Sandy Creek. The deed indicates that houses and buildings were on the tract of land. Dennis Lindsey bought the property for £32 Virginia currency, with John Martin, Aaron Fussell, and Alex Sutherland witnessing.[13] The deed was recorded in Granville court in December 1746, with the court registration showing his name as Dennis Lindsey. Note the recurrence of John Martin’s name here, and note, too, the name Aaron Fussell: he will witness Dennis Lindsey’s will in 1762.

A map showing the original boundaries of Granville County and Sandy Creek now in Franklin County, from the website of the Granville County Genealogical Society
A map showing the original boundaries of Granville County and Sandy Creek now in Franklin County, from the website of the Granville County Genealogical Society (Greensboro, NC, Stout Map Co.)

Sandy Creek and Dennis Lindsey’s land along the creek are now in Franklin County, North Carolina. When Bute was formed from Granville in 1764, this area fell into that county, which is now defunct. In 1779, at the formation of Franklin County, the land fell into that county. Sandy Creek originates in Franklin as the headwaters of Swift Creek, which is the name that the creek assumes from Hilliardston in Nash County, east of Franklin County, until Swift Creek meets the Tar River.[14]

Lindsey to Brantley, 1746, Granville, A, 26
Deed of Dennis Lindsey to John Brantley, 19 November 1746, Granvile County, North Carolina (Granville Deed Bk A, p. 26

Two days after purchasing the Sandy Creek tract, Dennis Lindsey sold the 200 acres on Isinglass (Isenglas in this deed) Creek that he bought on 3 February 1744 from Edward Jones. He sold the land to John Brantley (the deed giving the location of neither party) for £62 Virginia money. Once again, the deed mentions “Dennes branch.” John Martin and wife Rachel witnessed the deed, which was recorded in Granville court in September 1747.[15] Dennis Lindsey signed the deed by mark.

Members of the Strother and Thornton Families Join Dennis Lindsey on Sandy Creek

On 22 April 1748, Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier for Jeremiah Strother’s survey of 300 acres in Granville County on the south side of Sandy Creek, adjoining John Martin, Dennis Lindsey, and the creek; John Lisles was the other chain carrier, and Dan Weldon was the surveyor.[16] As previously noted, Jeremiah Strother (1715-1775) was a nephew of Mary Strother, wife of Francis Suttle, to whom Dennis Linchey was indentured in Richmond County, Virginia, on 1 June 1718. He was the son of an older Jeremiah Strother (abt. 1667-1741) and wife Eleanor Savage of Orange County, Virginia. In May 1746, Jeremiah (1715-1775) and wife Catherine (Kennerly) Strother sold their land in Orange County and moved to Granville County, North Carolina.[17]

Three days after he had been a chain carrier for Jeremiah Strother’s survey on Sandy Creek, Dennis then was a chain carrier when Roger Thornton had a survey for 200 acres on both sides of Sandy Creek. The other chain carrier was Thomas Beckham; Dan Weldon was surveyor.[18]

These documents reveal remarkable connections between Dennis Linchey/Dennis Lindsey in Granville County, North Carolina, to members of the same Strother family so closely connected to the indentures of several Irish servants arriving in Richmond County, Virginia, in 1718. They also show remarkable connections to the Thornton family long closely allied to the Strothers, into which one of Dennis’ children would marry. It is very significant to note that a nephew of Mary Strother Suttle, to whose husband Dennis was indentured in Virginia in 1718, followed Dennis Linchey/Lindsey to North Carolina and settled near him on Sandy Creek in Granville County, and that Roger Thornton made the same move — both of these families coming to North Carolina from Orange County, Virginia, as had the Martins who also lived in this same vicinity.

On 25 March 1747, Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier for John Martin’s survey of 640 acres in Granville County on both sides of Sandy Creek, adjoining Edward Jones; the other chain carrier was Thomas Beckum/Beckham, with Dan Weldon the surveyor.[19] Two years later, on the same day in March, Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier for a survey of 300 acres for Jeremiah Strother on the south side of Sandy Creek, adjoining John Martin and Dennis Lindsey. John Liles was the other chain carrier, and Dan Weldon was surveyor.[20] On the same date, a survey was made for Roger Thornton for 200 acres on both sides of Sandy Creek, with Dennis Lindsey and Thomas Beckham as chain carriers. Dan Weldon was surveyor, and Gideon Macon witnessed the survey.[21] Note that Roger Thornton m. Dennis Lindsey’s daughter Catherine.

In 1749, Dennis Lindsey appears on the tax list in Granville County with one poll, in the tax returns of John Martin. Dennis’ son William is in the same district, and his appearance in this tax list tells us that he was now of age and had been born by 1733. Next to Dennis Lindsey on this tax list is Roger Thornton. Also on the list near Dennis and William Lindsey are David Phillips, Jeremiah Strother, and Aaron Fussell.[22] As noted previously, May 1745 Edgecombe court minutes suggest that David Phillips lived near Dennis Lindsey and John Martin, and it seems to me likely that he is related to the Robert Phillips who would marry one of Dennis’ daughters, as attested by Dennis’ August 1762 Granville County will.

Martin to Lindsey 1749 Granville A 87
John Martin to Dennis Lindsey, 24 May 1749, Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, p. 87
Martin to Lindsey 1749 Granville A 88
John Martin to Dennis Lindsey, 24 May 1749, Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, p. 88

On 24 May 1749, John Martin sold to Dennes Linsey (the county of residence is given for neither party) for £12  Virginia money; 200 Acres in Granville County (Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, pp. 87-8). The deed states that the land was on the south side of  Sandy Creek adjoining Thomas Zackery. John Martin signed the deed, and witnesses were  Aaron Fussell and Thomas Zackrey. The deed was recorded at May Court 1749. Dennis’ name also appears as Dennis Lensey in this document.

On the same day that John Martin made this deed of land on the south side of Sandy Creek to Dennis Lindsey, he also deeded 240 acres south of Sandy Creek to Thomas Zackrey, with Dennes Lensey and Aaron Fussell witnessing the deed; Dennis signed by mark (Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, pp. 88-9).  Also, on 24 May 1749, John Martin deeded to Aaron Fussell 200 acres on Jeremiah Strother’s line, with Dennes Lensey and Thomas Zackrey witnessing and both signing by mark (ibid., pp. 90-1). Jeremiah Strother then sold to George Underwood on 29 May 1749 300 acres on the south  side of Sandy Creek adjoining Thomas Zackrey, with J. Norris and George King witnessing and and Jeremiah’s wife Catherine relinquishing (ibid., pp. 91-2).

On 12 October 1749, Granville Court court minutes indicate that a road had been laid from John Martin’s to the Tar River warehouse, with the following county citizens having worked this road: Jeremiah Strother, Joseph Sims, James Underwood, Benjamin Sims, Abraham Bledsoe, Joseph Brantley, Bird Thomas [Long?], Henry [Junr.?], Thomas Owens, Dennis Lindsey, and John Martin.[23]

In my next and final posting about Dennis Linchey/Lindsey, I’ll discuss the final decade of his life in North Carolina, up to his death in Granville County in 1762.

[1] Joseph Kelly Turner and John Luther Bridgers, History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton, 1920), pp. 23-4.

[2] David Goldfield, “Early Settlement,” NCpedia.

[3] John Bennett Boddie, “Thornton of Virginia,” Historical Southern Families, vol. 12 (Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1968), p. 70.

[4] Though this is a deed for land in Edgecombe involving parties both living in Edgecombe, it’s recorded in Halifax County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. 5, pp. 213-4. See also Margaret M. Hofmann, Abstracts of Deeds, Edgecombe Precinct, Edgecombe Co., NC, 1732-1758: As Found in Halifax County, North Carolina Public Registry Deed Dooks 1-2-3-4-5-6 (Weldon, NC: Roanoke News Publishers, 1969), p. 188, noting that the deed was recorded in Edgecombe Court in February 1744.

[5] Thomas McAdory Owen, History and Genealogies of Old Granville County, North Carolina, 1746-1800 (Greenville: Southern Hist. Press, 1933), p. 210.

[6] John D. Hawkins, “Colonel Philemon Hawkins, Sr.,” The North Carolina Booklet 9,3 (January 1920), p. 96. The article publishes an oration John D. Hawkins, who was a grandson of Philemon Hawkins, gave at Raleigh 28 September 1829. According to John D. Hawkins, Philemon Hawkins’ mother Ann married a native of Ireland when Philemon’s father, an older Philemon, died in Charles City County, Virginia, when Philemon was a boy (p. 93). According to John Parker Hawkins, Memoranda Concerning Some Branches of the Hawkins Family and Connections (Indianapolis, 1913), a branch of the Hawkins family also using Philemon as a given name was in Spotsylvania County, Virginia (pp. 12-13).

[7] Halifax County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. 2, p, 57.

[8] Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Warren, North Carolina, 1586-1917 (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1959), p. 19.

[9] Ibid., p. 20.

[10] Edgecombe Court Order Book, 1745, p. 31.

[11] Ibid., p. 52.

[12] Ibid., 1746, p. 80.

[13] Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, pp. 11-2.

[14] See William S. Powell, The North Carolina Gazetteer (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1968), p. 438. See also a 2 December 2008 email to me by researcher Guy Baker about the location of this land.

[15] Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, p. 26.

[16] Granville County, North Carolina, Patent Bk. 14, p. 61, #2683.

[17] Orange County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 10, pp. 310-3; and Owen, History and Genealogies of Old Granville County, North Carolina, p. 213, noting that Jeremiah Strother first appears in Granville records in 1747.

[18] Granville County, North Carolina, Patent Bk. 14, p. 78, #2742.

[19] Ibid., Bk. 11, p. 445, #1937.

[20] Ibid., Bk. 14, p. 61.

[21] Ibid., p. 78.

[22] I am citing the original Granville County tax records held by the North Carolina archives, which I researched in the past.

[23] Researcher Guy Baker sent me a copy of the original document by email in January 2009, without indicating its source in Granville County court minutes. If the document is a copy of Granville court minutes for this date, then it should be noted that court minutes in this period are unpaginated.

5 thoughts on “Dennis Linchey/Lindsey (abt. 1700-1762): Post-Indenture Life in North Carolina to 1750

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