Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) of Louisa and Wythe Counties, Virginia, and Cumberland County, Kentucky: Establishing a Date of Birth

I have not found a document providing a specific date of birth for Thomas. So I’m estimating his birthdate around 1745 on the basis of a number of documents that cast light on Thomas’s probable year of birth.

James Whitlock’s will, Louisa County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, p. 13

First, when Thomas’s father James Whitlock made his will in St. Martin’s parish, Louisa County, on 7 March 1749, it appears that James’s children were all minors.[1] The will, which is in a will book that has suffered damage and is difficult to read in its entirety, states,

I Lend unto [my loving wife] Agness Whitlock dureing her Widowhood all my whole estate [of whatever] kind soever now belonging to me, and in case she shall marry there[after my will] and desire is that the Estate above mentioned shall be Equally de[vided between] my loving Wife Agness Whitlock and her Six children for their [and theirs?] for ever….

Agnes Whitlock was Agnes Christmas, daughter of Thomas Christmas. The six children’s names appear in an estate settlement dated 20 November 1757, which was compiled by Abraham Venable, Thomas Paulett, and William Phillips, and which appears to name the children in order as it provides a monetary inheritance and enslaved people as each child’s portion of James’s estate (and this could mean Agnes was remarrying at this point?).[2] The names of James and Agnes’s children are given as Charles, James, Mary, Ann, Thomas, and Nathaniel Whitlock (see the digital image at the head of this posting). The share of James Whitlock’s estate that his son Thomas received an enslaved man Peter, and £47 pounds, 3s, 11½d. Note that Thomas Paulett was the husband of Agnes Christmas Whitlock’s sister Elizabeth. Venable and Phillips were justices of Louisa court.

Thomas Christmas’s will, Warren [Old Bute] County, North Carolina, Will Bk. A, p. 109

The order in which James and Agnes Whitlock’s children appear in the 1757 settlement of James’s estate is replicated in the will of Agnes’s father Thomas Christmas, who made a bequest to these Whitlock grandchildren when he made his will 29 December 1768 in St. Martin’s parish, Hanover County.[3] The will bequeaths to Thomas’s Whitlock grandchildren, stating, 

I give and bequeath unto my six grandchildren (Viz.) Charles Whitlock, James Whitlock, Mary Jones, Anne Austine, Thomas Whitlock and Nathaniel Whitlock, to them and to their heirs, assigns forever ten pounds current money each.

The fact that both James Whitlock’s estate settlement and Thomas Christmas’s will give the names of James and Agnes Christmas Whitlock’s children in the same order reinforces the conclusion that these children are being named in birth order in these documents.

Note that Louisa County was formed in 1743 from Hanover County, almost all of whose early records were destroyed in a fire in 1865. As the map below shows, after 1743, St. Martin’s parish was located in both Hanover, which is contiguous to Louisa, and in Louisa. Hence James Whitlock’s death in 1749 in St. Martin’s parish in Louisa and Thomas Christmas’s 1768 will stating that he lived in St. Martin’s parish in Hanover….

Map of Louisa-Hanover County, Virginia, parish boundaries, from Willard Gentry, “Early ‘Orphan Gentrys — Part 2, The John Gentrys of Hanover and Louisa Counties and Other Gentrys,” Journal of Gentry Genealogy 2,1 (January 2002), online at Journal of Gentry Genealogy website

Many Whitlock researchers estimate the year of birth of James and Agnes’s oldest son Charles as about 1739. A number of DAR and SAR applications for membership on the line of Mary Whitlock’s husband William Jones provide specific birthdates for William (31 October 1735) and Mary (15 April 1741).[4] These dates appear to be citing a bible record that passed down among the descendants of this family; I have not found specific information, however, about such a bible or who may have owned it when these DAR/SAR applications were made, but these applications make clear that DAR/SAR accepted this information as factual and correct. 

If Mary was born in 1741, with a sister Ann intervening between her and their brother Thomas, then this suggests to me a probable birthdate of 1745 or thereabouts for Thomas. This birthdate fits well with a number of other pieces of information about Thomas Whitlock and his family. 

For instance, as we’ve seen in previous postings, the bible of Thomas Whitlock’s daughter Sarah and her husband Thomas Brooks states that Sarah was born 9 June 1774.[5]  Sarah was either second or third of Thomas Whitlock’s children. She had an older brother Charles who married in Wythe County, Virginia, on or before 29 January 1793, when Daniel Lockett, the Methodist minister returning Charles’s marriage to Mary Davies/Davis to Wythe County court, returned the marriage.[6] In a 12 October 1995 letter to me, Wythe County historian Mary B. Kegley told me that Reverend Lockett seldom returned the actual date of a marriage to Wythe court; the date found in his returns is usually the date on which he returned a marriage to the court and not the date on which he solemnized a marriage. Charles married in or before January 1793 without requiring parental consent, so he appears to have been born by 1773 or shortly after that date.

If Charles Whitlock was born about 1773 and his sister Sarah, the next-born of Thomas Whitlock’s children, was born in 1774, then it seems likely Thomas Whitlock was born by or somewhat before 1753 — a date that fits well with the 1745 birthdate I’m proposing for Thomas. (A sister of Charles and Sarah whose name is not given in the will of her father Thomas Whitlock, but who married John Hammons, who is named in the will, may actually have been the first child of Thomas Whitlock and his wife Hannah Phillips, and may have been born about 1772 — I’ll discuss this point in a subsequent posting.)

One final thing to note regarding Thomas Whitlock’s probable date of birth: since Thomas’s father James Whitlock made his will in March 1749 (it was probated in November the same year), and since Thomas had a younger brother Nathaniel who appears from a number of sources to have been born about 1749 (some family trees give him a specific birthdate of 28 November 1749 — but note that James Whitlock’s March 1749 will speaks of James’s six children, one of whom is Nathaniel, according to the November 1757 settlement of James’s estate), it’s not likely Thomas Whitlock would have been born much prior to 1745.

In my next posting about Thomas Whitlock, I’ll discuss his marriage to Hannah Phillips, when I think that took place and why I think his wife Hannah (we know her given name from various records) was née Phillips, and the first records I find for Thomas before he settled on Little Reed Island Creek in what would become Wythe County, Virginia.

[1] Louisa County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, p. 13. Portions of the margins of almost all wills in this will book are missing. The wills are fragmentary and difficult to read; the will book has evidently suffered damage, causing portions of almost all wills to be lost or obliterated.

[2] Louisa County, Virginia, Inventory Bk. 1743-1790, pp. 39-40.

[3] Though the will was made in Hanover County, Virginia, it was recorded in Bute County, North Carolina. Bute was divided in 1779 into Franklin and Warren Counties (Bute then ceasing to exist), and the will ended up in Warren County, North Carolina, Will Bk. A, pp. 105-9. The will would also likely have been filed in Hanover County, but that county’s records almost all burned in 1865, and if the will was of record in that county, it’s now lost in Hanover records.

[4] See e.g. William Armstrong Barnett’s Sons of the American Revolution membership application, 29 December 1953, national #67794, Maryland NSDAR #1652, Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 (Louisville, Kentucky, NSDAR); available digitally at Ancestry in database Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970.

[5] The bible recording this birthdate originally belonged to Thomas Brooks and wife Sarah Whitlock Brooks, and Thomas Brooks likely recorded his wife’s birthdate in the bible. The bible passed to Thomas and Sarah’s oldest son Charles Brooks, who took it from Morgan County, Alabama, to Itawamba County, Mississippi. Its present whereabouts are not known. A transcript of the bible register by an unidentified person was published in 1988: “Brooks Bible,” Itawamba [Mississippi] Settlers 8,3 (September 1988), pp. 151-2.

[6] Wythe County, Virginia, Miscellaneous Marriage Bk. 1790-1905, p. 1. 

3 thoughts on “Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) of Louisa and Wythe Counties, Virginia, and Cumberland County, Kentucky: Establishing a Date of Birth

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