Or, Subtitled: Yows, Weathers, Working Tules, Indiorn Corn, and Shillings Starling
An assortment of deed, tax, and other records in Granville County, North Carolina, in the 1750s and 1760s provides an interesting snapshot of the final decade of Dennis Lindsey’s life. In 1750, he appears twice on Granville County tax lists, once in Edward Jones’ district and once in John Brantley’s. As we’ve seen, it was from Jones that he first bought land on Isinglass Creek in Edgecombe (later Granville) County in 1744. And he sold that piece of land to John Brantley in November 1746, just after buying a tract on Sandy Creek.
In each tax listing for him in 1750, Dennis is enumerated with son William, who is clearly the elder of his sons, having first appeared on the tax list in 1749. Dennis’s other son, Benjamin, who is named in his will and to whom Dennis bequeaths the land on which he was living in 1762, is identified in the will as not yet 18 years of age. Both Edward Jones’ tax listing and John Brantley’s specify that William is Dennis’s son, and he’s evidently the poll enumerated for Dennis in each of these two listings. Also in Edward Jones’ district in 1750 are Dennis’s son-in-law Roger Thornton and Roger’s brother Henry, and David Phillips (with sons William and Jesse). As we have seen, various Granville County records of the latter part of the 1740s indicate that David Phillips lived near Dennis Lindsey, and it seems likely that David is closely related to the Robert Phillips whom Dennis names as a son-in-law in his 1762 will.
In 1751, Dennis Lindsey appears in Lemuel Lanier’s tax district with one poll, again near son William, who is two houses away from his father and also listed with a poll.
On 4 March 1750/1 Dennis Linsey sold to Ephraim Estridge (the deed gives the residence of neither party) for £15 Virginia money 170 acres on the north side of Sandy Creek adjoining Thomas Zackrey and the mouth of Powder branch. Dennis signs by mark with Thomas and Aaron Fussell witnessing. The deed was recorded at Granville Court 5 March 1750 [sic]; this was a double year, and the date on the deed notes that). The creek’s name is spelled as “Sady” in the deed. Nothing in this deed specifies how Dennis Lindsey came to own this piece of land, and I haven’t found a deed to him for the tract. On Thomas Zackery and his appearance with Dennis Lindsey in two deeds in 1749 involving John Martin and Aaron Fussell, see this previous posting. According to several sources, Ephraim Estridge married Aaron Fussell’s sister Sarah.
In 1752, Dennis is again in John Brantley’s district (as Dinnis Linse) with one poll. John Brantley’s 1752 tax list also shows Dennis Lindsey living near Roger, John, and Henry Thornton, “Black John” Phillips, and Henry Thornton’s father-in-law Abraham Bledsoe — all folks (with the possible exception of “Black John” Phillips) who had come down to North Carolina from Orange County, Virginia, and, in the case of the Thorntons, with prior roots in Richmond County, Virginia, where Dennis was indentured in 1718. John Thornton, who is identified as a constable on the 1752 tax list, died testate in Franklin County, North Carolina, in December 1787.
In 1753, Dennis Lindsey again appears in John Brantley’s tax list with one poll. Son William is enumerated in the same district as a poll of Dan O’Sheal. As we’ll see in a posting down the road, by July 1768, William Lindsey shows up acquiring land on the north side of the Enoree River in Craven County, South Carolina, in an area that later became Spartanburg County. A 17 March 1787 Spartanburg County deed entry shows Joshua Smith and wife Elizabeth giving power of attorney to William Swanson of Franklin County, Virginia, to claim land on Shocco Creek in Granville County that was given to Elizabeth by her father Dan O’Sheal. The deed states that Dan O’Sheal’s wife, mother of Elizabeth, was Sarah Walker.
Also in John Brantley’s district in 1753 is John Terrell, reputedly the first European to settle on the south side of Sandy Creek in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. Researcher Guy Baker tells me that John had a grant of 500 acres in Edgecombe on 25 July 1743 for land that then fell into Granville in 1746, Bute in 1764, and finally Franklin in 1779. The land granted to John Terrell in 1743 is on the south side of the Sandy in present-day Franklin County in the vicinity in which Dennis Lindsey lived.
In 1754, Dennis Lindsey is taxed in John Martin’s district in Granville with one poll. In the same year, he appears on an 8 October muster roll of Capt. Sugar/Sugan Jones’ company of Col. Wm. Eaton’s militia in Granville County (see the image at the head of this posting). Dennis appears in this muster list next to Aaron Fussell and also with Roger Thornton and his brothers John and Henry, as well as with Francis and Lawrence Strother, brothers of Jeremiah Strother, for whose 22 April 1748 survey of land on the south side of Sandy Creek Dennis Lindsey was a chain carrier.
In 1755, Dennis Lindsey was again a taxpayer in Granville County and is again enumerated beside his son William on the “composite” tax list for the county. Both have one poll. Next year’s tax listing will state that William Lindsey has “run away” and is delinquent. From that point forward, I find no record of William in Granville County, other than his appearance in the list of Dennis’s children in the 1762 will.
The Final Years, 1760s
On 11 January 1760, Dennis Lindsey entered 400 acres in Granville County on both sides of Buffalo Creek adjoining John Lisles and Dennis’s own line. The entry is in miscellaneous papers of the Granville District land office, and shows Dennis signing by mark, with Thomas Lowe witnessing his land survey. The same day, a warrant for survey was issued, with Thomas Person surveying the land and with John Underwood and Roger Martin as chain carriers. and Dan Weldon returning the survey as executed on 17 July 1760. The back of the return states that the grant was made 7 March 1761, and the plat for the land shows that it was 330 acres.
Also on 11 January 1760, Dennis Lindsey had a warrant for a survey of 700 acres in Granville County on Lyon’s Creek joining Becham’s Folly. The paperwork in this file indicates that he assigned the grant (680 acres, when the grant was made) to John Pownal.
I have not been able to locate either of these Granville grants to Dennis Lindsey. They appear not to be listed in the Granville grant index held by the North Carolina archives, nor are there deeds recorded — insofar as I have been able to discover — in Granville County. I find other grants made by the Earl of Granville in the deed index of the county, but not a deed to Dennis Lindsey. A correction: a search of the North Carolina Archives’ MARS database shows both of these Granville grants to Dennis Lindsey listed among Granville grants.
In April 1762, Dennis Lindsey will sell 330 acres on Buffalo Creek to son-in-law Robert Phillips and to James Wooton, stating in both deeds that the land had come to him by a grant from “his Lordship” dated 7 March 1761.
On 24 July 1760, Dennis Lindsey’s son-in-law Roger Thornton sold him for £30 Virginia money 200 acres on the south side of Sandy Creek at the mouth of Waters’ branch. The deed gives Dennis’ name as Denis Linsey, and has no witnesses. It was recorded 12 August 1760 in Granville court with Roger Thornton acknowledging the transaction.This is the tract on which Dennis was living at the time of his death in August 1762, which he willed to his son Benjamin.
Dennis Lindsey is on the Granville tax list in 1761 in Sandy Creek district, listed as a poll for Ephraim Clanton, another of his sons-in-law. Roger Thornton is beside him. The fact that he appears here as a poll of his son-in-law Ephraim Clanton a year before his death, and next to the son-in-law who had just sold him 200 acres on which he was living when he died, suggests to me that he was growing infirm and being cared for by the daughters living beside him.
On 9 May 1761, Denis Linsey deeded to James Strother of Culpeper County, Virginia (the deed specifies that Denis was of Granville County, North Carolina) for £10 Virginia money 50 acres from the 200-acre tract on Powder branch on the south side of Sandy Creek that he had bought from John Martin on 24 May 1749. The deed notes that this 50-acre tract joined 200 acres Lindsey was selling Strother on the same day (this was the land he bought from Thomas Owen 17 November 1746). Denis Linsay signed by mark.The witnesses to the deed were Christopher Strother and Thomas Graham. Christopher Strother proved the deed in Granville court on 12 May 1786.
The same day (9 May 1761), Denis Linsay sold to James Strother (the deed again notes that Linsay was of Granville County and Strother of Culpeper County, Virginia) for £10 Virginia money 200 acres on the south side of Sandy Creek. The deed states that the land was from a patent to Thomas Owen 24 March 1742/3, and that the land had a plantation on it. Denis signed by mark with witnesses Christopher Strother and Edward Graham. Christopher Strother proved the deed in Granville court on 12 May 1786.
James Strother sold the 250 acres he bought from Dennis Lindsey in 1761 to John Hawkins, Jr., of Bute County, North Carolina, on 3 October 1769. The deed for this land sale states that Strother was now living in Fauquier County, Virginia, and that the land was on the south side of Sandy Creek on John Martin’s old line, and it was now in Bute County. It also notes that Strother had bought the land from Dennis Lindsey on 9 May 1760 [sic]. The deed was witnessed by William Cole, Dilla Hawkins, and Francis Strother (mark). Dilla Hawkins proved it at February court 1771.
It should be noted that Dilla Hawkins, who witnessed this deed, is Delia Martin Hawkins, sister to the John Martin who so frequently appears in records of Dennis Lindsey in Edgecombe-Granville Counties, North Carolina. For information about her, see this previous posting.
A question: if James Strother sold this land in 1769, why did Christopher Strother prove the deed of Dennis Lindsey to James Strother in May 1786 in Granville County court? That was 25 years after Lindsey sold the land to Strother — and it was 17 years after James Strother had sold it again to John Hawkins, Jr.
The May 1761 deeds to James Strother are noteworthy for several reasons. First, it’s clear from the details of the second deed to Strother that Dennis Lindsey had considered the 200-acre tract on the south side of Sandy Creek he bought from Thomas Owen in November 1746 his home plantation — with the 50 acres acquired from John Martin in May 1749 added to that 200-acre tract. He had held onto this land up to the very end of his life, and one suspects that Roger Thornton deeded to him the 200 acres in August 1760, near the end of Dennis’ life, primarily to enable Dennis to live next to two daughters providing care for him in his final years, and not because he wanted to relinquish his homeplace.
It also seems significant that, when Dennis sold what had been his homeplace, he sold it to a member of the Strother family living back in Virginia. What’s that about, one wonders? The Strother ties are thick from the time he was indentured back in Virginia in 1718, as we’ve seen. But they seem to have continued after he moved to North Carolina in a way that suggests there was some ongoing connection to members of the Strother family that goes beyond the indenture alone. To my knowledge, it was not the normal thing for families that had held people in indentured servitude in colonial Virginia to maintain close ties to their servants when the servants had been freed — and especially when the servants moved away from the place in which he/she had been indentured.
The James Strother to whom Dennis sold these two pieces of land in 1761 was the son of Robert Strother and Elizabeth Berry. Robert was a brother to the elder Jeremiah Strother whose son Jeremiah moved to North Carolina by 1748, settling beside Dennis Lindsey on the south side of Sandy Creek. Robert and Jeremiah were sons of William Strother and Dorothy Savage of Richmond County, Virginia. William and Dorothy were also the parents of Mary Strother, who married Francis Suttle, the man to whom Dennis Linchey was indentured in June 1718. Dorothy Savage’s sister Alice married Francis Thornton, who connects to the family tree of Roger Thornton, Dennis’ son-in-law.
It’s possible the Strother connections that continued in Dennis Lindsey’s life to its very end simply reflect his association with the Strother family via his 1718 indenture. To me, however, they suggest some ongoing ties stronger than that association, which I’m not yet sure we’ve yet fully understood. This question of why Dennis Lindsey remained so connected to the Virginia Strother family to the end of his life is one that seems to me to deserve further research.
To return to an examination of records of Dennis Lindsey in the period immediately before his death in August 1762: On 13 April 1762, he sold (the deed gives his name as Dennis Linsey) to son-in-law Robert Phillips (no residence given for either man) £5 Virginia money 130 acres on Sandy Creek at Bufelow [sic] branch adjoining Dennis Linsey’s former line and Charles Liles. The deed states that the land was from a deed Dennis Lindsey obtained from “his Lordships office” on 7 March 1761. It was signed by Dennis Linsey (with no indication of mark), with Roger Thornton, John Pendergrass, and Aaron Fussell witnessing. Fussel proved the deed February Granville court. This is obviously a piece of Dennis Lindsey’s 1761 Granville grant discussed above.
A record three days later suggests to me that Dennis Lindsey’s health was declining at this point soon before his death, and he was disposing of his property in preparation for the end of his life, and perhaps because he was in straitened financial circumstances: On 16 April 1762, he petitioned the North Carolina assembly to be exempt from taxes in Granville County. The petition was denied on the ground that he was in sufficient circumstances to pay his taxes.
Three days after this, on 19 April 1762, Denis Linsey sold to James Wooton (neither party’s residence is identified) for £10 Virginia money 200 acres both sides of the Buffalow branch on the south side of Sandy Creek joining Charles Liles. The deed notes that the land came to Linsey through a deed from “his Lordship” on 7 March 1761 — that is, this is another piece of his 1761 Granville grant. Denis Linsey signs (no mention is made of a mark) with witnesses Roger Thornton, Robert Phillips, and Aaron Fussell. The latter proved the deed at Granville court in February 1763.
On 3 August 1762, Dennis Lindsey (Dennis Linsey) made a nuncupative will in Granville County. Nuncupative wills were dictated, often on the deathbed of the person making the will. Since the will is written in a formal way, using conventional legal phrases and the traditional introductory formulas expressing religious pieties, it’s not likely that the will is a verbatim transcript of Dennis Lindsey’s final instructions, but a summary of them placed in the conventional format of a legal document — though a final N.B. explains that one line has been interlined with additional words, so it’s possible whoever wrote the will, taking Dennis Lindsey’s dictation, brought a “pre-written” form into which his specific instructions were then inserted. There is no indication in the will itself or any other document I have found as to who wrote the actual document.
Here is my transcription of the will of Dennis Lindsey:
In the Name of god Amen I Dennis Linsey of granville County in ye Province of north Carolina being through ye abundant Mercy and goodness of god tho weak in Body yet of Sound and Perfect understanding and memory Do constitute this my Last Will and Testament and Desier it may be Received by all as such
Imprimis I most humbly bequeath my Soul to god my maker Beseeching his most gracious acceptance of it [through?] ye all Sufficiant merits and mediation of my most Compaſsionate Redeemer Jesus Christ to Prepare me for ye time of my Dissolution and Rest which he has Prepared for all that Love and fear his Holy Name Amen
Imprimis I give and Bequeath unto my son William Linsey My horse bridle and saddle and my wareing Cloths and my Rifel gun and nine year old hogs and ten Shots
Item I give and bequeath to my son Benjn Linsey Two hundred acres of Land more or leſs it being ye plantation I now Live on and two Sows and Pigs
Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Linsey one bed and furniture and one Iorn Pot and two Sheep one yowe & one weather the Remainder Pairt of my household goods to be Equaley Devided between my Daughter Mary and my Daughter Winney
Item I give and Bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Two Sheep one Ram and one yow and five barrils of Indiorn Corn
Item I give and Bequeath to my daughter Catern five Shillings Starling
Item I give and Bequeath to my daughter Margit all my working Tules on ye Plantation
Item I give and Bequeath to my grandson Dennis Phillups one young cow and Calf and ye Remainer of ye cattell to be Equaley divided between Mary and Winney
Item I Desier that Robt Phillups should have the cear of my Daughter Mary and her Estate tell she arive to the ye age of sixteen years or marryed
And I Desier that Ephrim Clanton Should have ye cear of my son Benjn and my Daughter Winney and there Estats if ye sd Clanton would Larne my son Benjn the carpenders traid if not I Desier my son Wm Linsey William Linsey to have ye care of Benjn Linsey and his Estate Tell he arrives to ye age of Eighteen years and I Desier that my Daughter Winney may be free and in Joye Her Estate at ye age of sixteen years or marryed
I alsso Desier that Robt Phillups Should have ye use of ye Plantation tell Benjn Linsey arives to ye age of Eighteen years I alsso will that my sons in Law Robt Phillups Ephrim Clanton and Rodger Thornton Be Executors of This my last Will and Testament and Trustees for my children In witneſs whereof I have Hereunto Set my hand and seal this third Day of August in ye year of our Lord 1762
Signed and Sealed in The presents of us Dennis Linsey (mark) Seal
John Robuck (mark)
James Robuck (mark)
NB This will Enterlined before asigned in the words two sheep one yowe and one weather.
Granville County Augt Court 1762
This will was proved by the Oath of all the Subscribing Witneſses thereto and on Motion it was Ordered to be Recorded Test Danl Weldon
The fact that the will was proved in Granville County court in August 1762 means that Dennis Lindsey died sometime during that month after having made his will on the 3rd. I have been unable to find any mention in Granville County court minutes of the date on which the will was returned to court, and no estate file appears to be extant.
This brings to a close my account of the remarkable life of Dennis Lindsey, who arrived in Virginia in 1718 as a young Irish servant, who was indentured, and who then, having been freed, made a way in the world for himself and his family against certain odds. In my next posting, I’ll tell you more about the children named in his will and what I know of them. I’ll then move on to Dennis’ son William, who is my ancestor, about whom I have most information, and who moved from Granville County, North Carolina, to what became Spartanburg County, South Carolina.
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A, pp. 341-2.
 See, e.g., Darlene Athey-Hill’s page for Ephraim Estridge at WikiTree. A number of sources reporting that Ephraim Estridge married Sarah Fussell appear to be citing Lynne E. Fussell, Descendants of Nicholas Fussell (c. 1600-c. 1660) (priv. publ., Richardson, Texas, 1997). But no source I’ve yet seen specifies where in her book on the Fussell family she discusses this matter, or what sources she’s citing — and I have not had access to this book to see what it says.
Aaron Fussell appears to be the son of Thomas Fussell, who left a will dated 4 June 1735 in Bertie County, North Carolina, naming a son Aaron. According to Steven R. Rainwater, “Evidence for Early Rainwaters,” online at Susan Chance Rainwater and Stephen Rainwater’s Rainwater Collection, the Fussell family moved from New Kent County, Virginia, to North Carolina about 1723-1733. Thomas Fussell’s daughter Mary married John Rainwater. Mary was evidently a contemporary of Dennis Lindsey, b. abt. 1710, which would suggest that Aaron Fussell was also of the same generation as Dennis. The Rainwaters also went to Granville County, North Carolina, according to this source, having previously been in Surry County, Virginia. See also Debra McCann’s “My Elusive Ancestors” at Rootsweb.
 Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk A, pp. 182-5. In a 2 November 2008 email, researcher Guy Baker tells me that Daniel O’Sheal was in Nansemond County, Virginia, records before he moved to Edgecombe County, North Carolina.
 See Reverend Edward Hill Davis, Historical Sketches of Franklin County [North Carolina] (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton, 1948), p. 66.
 Guy Baker sent me this information in a 7 November 2008 email. According to Roberta Tuller at her American Family History website, John Terrell patented land in 1730 in the first fork of the Rapidan River in St. George’s parish, Spotsylvania County, Virginia, before he and his consort Elizabeth Harrison left Virginia in 1738 to move to North Carolina. This detail about Terrell’s past is interesting in light of Dennis Lindsey’s attempt to patent land in the same location in 1728.
 “Granville County: Muster roll of Colonel William Eaton’s Regiment,” in “Troop Returns, Military Collection, State Archives of North Carolina, RG 5864; digitized online at the state archives’ Digital Records Collection. See also the transcription in Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vol. 22: Miscellaneous (Goldsboro, NC: Nash Brothers, 1907), pp. 376-8; and in Worth S. Ray, Colonial Granville County and Its People (Austin, TX, 1945; republ. Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1979), p. 293.
 See Margaret M. Hoffmann, The Granville District of North Carolina, 1748-1763: Abstracts of Miscellaneous Land Office Records (Weldon, NC: Roanoke News), #358. Hoffmann is abstracting the original miscellaneous papers now held by the North Carolina Archives. According to William S. Powell, The North Carolina Gazeteer (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1968), p. 72, Buffalo Creek rises in northern Franklin County and flows southeast into Sandy Creek.
 Hoffmann, Granville District of North Carolina, 1748-1763, #3159-3160.
 Ibid., #3544.
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. C, pp. 694-5. Powell’s North Carolina Gazeteer has no listing for a Waters Branch in present-day Franklin County, but the name appears in other documents in Granville, Bute, and Franklin County – e.g., in a deed 10 June 1767 in which Richard Williams sold land to James Bettis, with the deed stating that the land lay on Ledbetter’s Prong at the mouth of Waters Branch, then along Cade’s path adjoining Person (Bute County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. 1, p. 404).
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. D, pp. 236-7.
 Ibid., p. 237.
 Warren County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. 3, p. 233. A 7 May 1778 land entry by John Hawkins, Jr., for 640 acres on Sandy Creek in Bute County (Buckoms Branch and Thornton’s Mill Creek are also mentioned in the land description) notes that the land adjoined Edward Jones, as well as land formerly belonging to Lindsey, Duke, Robuck, the widow Pendergrass, and the Widow Garriott (Bute County, North Carolina, Land Entries Bk. E, p. 35).
 I don’t mean to be evasive or deliberately vague when I speak of “the family tree” of Roger Thornton and how it connects to the Francis Thornton who married Alice Savage. The Thornton DNA page at FTDNA provides an excellent summary of what DNA findings are telling us about the connections between the several Thornton immigrant ancestors in colonial Virginia, notably William Thornton of Gloucester County, Luke Thornton, who has sometimes been thought to be William’s son, and Henry Thornton. William was father of the Francis Thornton who married Alice Savage. Roger Thornton, husband of Catherine Lindsey, was a grandson of Henry Thornton. DNA studies are showing that these three Thornton immigrant ancestors of colonial Virginia were, in fact, closely related to each other, but it’s clear that Luke was not William’s son — and it’s likely the common ancestor of the three Thornton immigrants is to be found a century back from their arrival in Virginia.
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. F, pp. 298-9.
 North Carolina Legislative Journal for 16 April 1762 — see William L. Saunders, Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 6 [Raleigh: Josephus Daniels, 1888], pp. 807-8.
 Granville County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. F, pp. 258-9.
 The original will is held by the North Carolina Archives (C.R. 044.801.25).
 I.e., shoats.
 I.e., ewe.
 I.e., wether.
 I.e., one yow.