Or, Subtitled: The Challenges Encountered in Tracking “Wm. Lindsey Run Away”
And now to William Lindsey, the one child of Dennis Lindsey about whom I have substantial documentation — if, that is, I’m correct in identifying the William named as a son in Dennis’ will with a William Lindsey who had a precept on 5 July 1768 for 300 acres of land north of the Enoree River in South Carolina. We know from subsequent deeds that I’ll discuss later that this land was in Spartanburg County after the formation of that county, and that William Lindsey lived from the latter part of the 1760s north of the Enoree in southern Spartanburg County (but not on this 300 acres, which he sold in October 1772) until he disappeared from county records in the early 1800s. By 1806, his son William ceases to appear as Jr. in county records, and it seems to me that the father had died by then. I have been unable to locate estate records for the older William that would provide a date of death.
We also know from Revolutionary pay vouchers I’ll discuss later that William had a son Dennis, who seems to have been his oldest son, born around 1755. I have concluded that this William Lindsey of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, is the son of that name who appears in the August 1762 will of Dennis Lindsey in Granville County, North Carolina. As we’ve seen, William first shows up on Granville County tax lists in 1749, and this allows us to date his year of birth around 1733 or perhaps slightly earlier. In 1750, William is enumerated with his father Dennis on the tax list in Granville County, with the list stating that William is Dennis’ son. A 1756 Granville tax list states that William was delinquent in that year and had “run away.” I find no mention of him in Granville County records after that time until his father made his August 1762 will.
As I’ve just stated, his appearance for the first time on Granville County tax lists in 1749 allows us to place William Lindsey’s birth by 1733. I suspect he may have been slightly older than 16 when he showed up on that 1749 tax list, but this is merely a hunch and I may be incorrect in thinking this. From other records, we know that his father Dennis Lindsey was living in the late 1720s and early 1730s in Spotsylvania (later Orange) County, Virginia. It seems very likely William Lindsey was born there prior to his father’s move to North Carolina. As I’ve told you in previous postings, a number of pieces of information suggest to me that William’s sister Catherine (who married Roger Thornton) may have been Dennis Lindsey’s oldest child, with William following her in the list of Dennis’ children.
Records of William Lindsey in Granville County, North Carolina
All the information I have about William Lindsey before he disappears from Granville County records by 1756 is from Granville tax lists cited above. To summarize what those tax lists tell us (see the links above for documentation):
- In 1749, William first appears on Granville tax lists near Dennis Lindsey in John Martin’s returns. Dennis is enumerated next to son-in-law Roger Thornton. Both Dennis and William have one poll.
- In 1750, both Dennis and William are enumerated twice on Granville tax lists — in Edward Jones’ and John Brantley’s lists. Both listings state that William is Dennis’ son. Both list William as a poll for Dennis.
- In 1751, William appears in Lemuel Lanier’s district two houses from Dennis, both listed with one poll.
- In 1753, William appears as a poll of Dan O’Sheal in John Brantley’s district. His father Dennis is in the same district, with one poll. As I noted in a previous posting, a March 1787 Spartanburg County, South Carolina, 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, North Carolina, which 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 Granville County in 1753 is John Terrell, whom I discussed in a previous posting noting that Terrell was purportedly the first European settler on the south side of Sandy Creek in what was first Edgecombe, then Granville, and finally Bute and Franklin Counties. Terrell lived in what is today the northeastern part of Franklin County near the western Nash County line — and we know from various records that this is the area in which Dennis Lindsey and his family also lived.
- In 1755 William Lindsey appears again beside his father Dennis in the “composite list” of Granville taxpayers, both with one poll.
- The last listing I find for William Lindsey in the Granville tax list is in 1756, when he appears as a delinquent taxpayer with the note, “Wm. Lindsey run away.”
From Granville County, North Carolina, to South Carolina
The first certain record I can find in South Carolina for William Lindsey is his 5 July 1768 precept for a survey of the 300 acres granted to him north of the Enoree. If he “ran away” from Granville County in 1756, where was he in the intervening period between that year and 1768? The short answer to that question is that I don’t know for certain.
I find a William Lindsey mentioned once in Bute County records in the period following his father’s death, in 1769, and then he disappears totally from Granville and Bute records. I’m fairly confident this is William, son of Dennis. As we saw in the previous posting, in 1771 William’s brother Benjamin sold the 200 acres willed to Benjamin in Dennis Lindsey’s will — Dennis’ homeplace — and the deed states that this land was then in Bute County.
The 1769 Bute County record I find mentioning William Lindsey (William Linsay in the original) is his appearance in a list of debtors in the inventory of the estate of William Williamson. The inventory is not dated, but was returned to Bute court in February 1769; the widow Martha Williamson appealed for administration of the estate on 14 February 1769 with James Miller and Thomas Cook as her bondsmen.
William Lindsey’s appearance as a debtor in this 1769 Bute County estate inventory does not necessarily imply that he was living in Bute County at the time. The debt would obviously have predated William Williamson’s death sometime before 14 February 1769. Also listed as a debtor to the estate is a Thomas Fussell who is either the brother or son of Aaron Fussell, who witnessed Dennis Lindsey’s will. In addition, it should be noted that the estate paid as one of William Williamson’s creditors John Thornton, brother of Roger Thornton, William Lindsey’s brother-in-law. As I’ve noted previously, in March 1761, Aaron Fussell’s brother Thomas sold John Robuck, another witness of Dennis Lindsey’s will, land in Granville County on Roger Thornton’s line, and on the same day, he sold William Waters land on Henry Thornton’s line with Aaron Fussell and William Williamson witnessing the deed.
I have wondered if, after he “ran off” in 1765, William Lindsey sojourned in Johnston County, North Carolina, just south of where his family lived in Granville (later Bute) County. I find a 24 September 1764 deed in Johnston County from William Lindsey to John Giles Thomas, both of Johnston, for an acre of land adjoining the Great Falls and Crabtree Creek on the north, running down the creek to the mouth of Jumping Creek, then crossing the bridge to the house in which William Lindsey lived. The land was from a tract patented to William Smith on 18 March 1740. This deed was signed by William Lindsey and witnessed by Rowland Cornelius and William Carden.
I do not have any proof that this is William, son of Dennis Lindsey. This William Lindsey seems to have been in Johnston County by 17 January 1764, when court minutes show him among those appointed to lay a road from near H. Tyner’s at Little River to the Neuse at Timothy Rich’s, then along Crabtree Creek near John Belk’s and to the county line. I don’t find William Lindsey mentioned in Johnston County records after 1764, and this makes me wonder if he did leave Johnston County around that time and had lived there only briefly. Both the brief appearance in Johnston County and the quick exit from county records not long after William, son of Dennis, vanished from Granville County and then claimed land in South Carolina, do seem to match the picture of Dennis’ son William.
I do note, however, the appearance of a William Lindsay on 26 November 1770 in records of Sampson County contiguous to Johnston County. On that date, William Lindsay witnessed a deed of Nathaniel and Selah Thornton to Joseph Vick of 400 acres east of the Great Coheary. The deed mentions Thomas Suggs, William Williamson, and the mouth of Peacock’s Swamp.
A brief footnote about the Rowland Cornelius who witnessed the September 1764 deed of William Lindsey to John Giles Thomas in Johnston County: this name catches my eye, because a Rowland Cornelius who had grants in Ninety-Six District (later Spartanburg County), South Carolina, in 1784, and who is found in Spartanburg County deeds until around 1797, when he moved to Franklin County, Georgia, settled finally in Madison County, Alabama, where his family connected by marriage to the kinship network of William Lindsey’s descendants who settled in Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama, in the early 1800s.
That Rowland Cornelius is, I suspect, a different Rowland Cornelius than the one found in Johnston County, North Carolina, records in the 1760s, but I’m also inclined to think these two men named Rowland Cornelius were related to each other. The Rowland in Johnston County proved William Lindsey’s deed to John Giles Thomas at Johnston court on 16 October 1764. Prior to this, I find him selling land in Johnston County to John O’Neal, Jr., on 19 April 1761, with the deed describing Cornelius as a planter of Johnston County. He sold land again on 1 March 1770 to Edward Earp, buying a piece of land, too, on the same day, from New Tapley. The first deed states that Rowland Cornelius was living in Johnston County, but the second gives his residence as Rowan County, North Carolina.
From some unknown source, I have a note that William Lindsey, son of Dennis of Granville County, North Carolina, may have moved to South Carolina from Granville county by way of Anson County, North Carolina. I do find a William Lindsey in Anson County records in the latter part of the 1750s and early 1760s, but he is clearly a different William Lindsey than the son of Dennis Lindsey and the William who settled by 1768 in what later became Spartanburg County, South Carolina — who are, in my view, one and the same.
And one more reason we can reach that conclusion: male descendants who can fairly confidently trace their male lineage to the William Lindsey who settled by 1768 in what became Spartanburg County, South Carolina, have the Irish type III DNA signature, which places their ancestral origins in southwest Ireland prior to 800 A.D., and links them to what are called the Dalcassian clans of that region, families associated with Brian Boru. The Dennis Lindsey who died in August 1762 in Granville County, North Carolina, with a will naming a son William was an indentured servant who arrived — as Dennis Linchey — from Ireland in Richmond County, Virginia, in the first part of 1718, and was indentured there with other Irish servants arriving in Virginia with him.
 Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. A, pp. 182-5.
 Bute County, North Carolina, Record Bk. A 1764-1774, p. 56; see also the original inventory in the loose-papers estate file held by the North Carolina Archives.
 Johnston County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. D-1, p. 185, #683.
 Johnston County, North Carolina, Order Bk. 1, p. 170.
 Sampson County, North Carolina, Deed Bk 4, p. 352.
 South Carolina Plat Bk. 7, p. 151.
 Spartanburg County, South Carolina, Deed Bk. B, pp. 200, 410.
 Johnston County, North Carolina, Order Bk. 1, p. 194.
 Johnston County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. A-1, p. 145.
 Ibid., Deed Bk. H1 (tr.) pp. 39, 45.