Children of Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) and Wife Hannah Phillips: Daughter Who Married John Hammons (1)

We learn from the 22 January 1824 will of Thomas Whitlock in Cumberland County, Kentucky, which names John Hammons as Thomas’s son-in-law, that a daughter of Thomas Whitlock who is not named in the will had married John Hammons. In my view, the fact that Thomas Whitlock does not name John Hammons’s wife while stating that John Hammons was his son-in-law indicates that she had predeceased her father. I have found no other information about this daughter of Thomas Whitlock, including her given name. As I’ll discuss later, the John Hammons who married Thomas Whitlock’s daughter can be shown to be the man found in Patrick County, Virginia, records by 1792.

Thomas Whitlock’s will states that he had loaned John Hammons $100 silver, and this was to be included in Thomas’s estate as it was divided among his heirs. His three living daughters and his two sons-in-law whose wives had, it seems clear, died before the will was made were to have equal shares of the estate. The final settlement of the estate on 9 March 1832 shows John Hammons’s heirs receiving $420.41 as their fifth share of the estate. John had died by the time Thomas Whitlock’s estate was settled. This document incorrectly gives John’s surname as Hanna, the surname of another of Thomas Whitlock’s sons-in-law named in the will, William Hannah or Hanna.

If the daughter of Thomas Whitlock who married John Hammons was close to her husband in age, this Whitlock daughter would have been born, it seems, around 1770 or soon thereafter, and would have likely been the second child of Thomas and Hannah Phillips Whitlock. Margaret Austin estimates that John Hammons married Thomas Whitlock’s daughter around 1793-5. She bases that estimated marriage date on the fact that their first son, Charles W. Hammons (whose name was, I suspect, Charles Whitlock Hammons) was born in 1795-6. In Margaret Austin’s view, the marriage of John Hammons to Thomas Whitlock’s daughter probably occurred in Patrick County, Virginia. 

Patrick County is on the southern border of Virginia, bordering Surry and Stokes Counties, North Carolina. Patrick is separated from Wythe County, in which Thomas Whitlock and his family lived, by Carroll County.

In the period in which John Hammons and Thomas Whitlock’s daughter married, a Reverend Thomas Whitlock who was a justice of the peace is found in Patrick County records. He’s thought to have been the Whitlock who married Margaret Bryson, a sister of James Bryson whose son Abner married Nancy/Ann Whitlock, a daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips, and whose daughter Susannah married James Hanna, brother of William Hannah who married a daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips whose name is not known. The 8 September 1804 will of John Bryson of Surry County, North Carolina, father of James Bryson, named his daughter Margaret Whitlock and made James and John Bryson and Thomas Whitlock executors.[2] Insofar as I know, the kinship connection of Thomas Whitlock with wife Hannah Phillips and Thomas Whitlock with wife Margaret Bryson has not been determined, and there is not clear documentation of the latter Thomas’s parents.

Regarding when and where John Hammons Jr. and Thomas Whitlock’s daughter married, note that, as a previous posting states, when John Hammons testified in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 23 May 1803 in the case of Whitlock vs. Whitlock filed against Thomas Whitlock by the widow of Thomas’s son Charles, John Hammons stated that he had lived for some time on the land of Thomas Whitlock in Wythe County, Virginia.[3] This statement makes me wonder if John Hammons may have been working for Thomas Whitlock and living on Thomas’s land at the time he met and married Thomas’s daughter, or, if not before their marriage, then for some time after it. It’s possible, I think, that John Hammons married Thomas Whitlock’s daughter in Wythe County, Virginia.

As my use of the Jr. tag in speaking of John Hammons in Patrick County, Virginia, records of the early 1790s suggests, at the same time that the John Hammons (Jr.) who married a daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips appears in these records, a John Hammons Sr. also appears in them — and subsequently in the records of Wayne County, Kentucky, and Warren County, Tennessee, to which both men moved. John Hammons Sr. is the father of John Hammons Jr., and a challenge in researching this Hammons family is to separate father from son in various records.

Patrick County, Virginia, Records for John Hammons (1792-5)

I first find John Hammons Sr. and Jr. on the Patrick County personal property tax list in 1794, when both appear on the tax list on 15 July. John Hammons Sr. is taxed for two tithables, five enslaved persons over 16, one enslaved person over 12 and under 16, and ten horses. John Hammons Jr. has one tithable and two horses.[4] John Hammons Sr. and Jr. continue on the Patrick County personal tax list in 1795, both taxed on 12 July with the same taxable property as in 1794, except that John Sr. now has nine horses instead of ten.[5] The 1796 Patrick County tax list enumerates John Hammons Sr. (the surname is spelled Hammonds here), but John Hammons Jr. has disappeared from the tax list and is thought by some Hammons researchers to have gone to Lincoln County, Kentucky, though this is a point that Margaret Austin doubted, as will be discussed below.[6]

Patrick County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax list 1794, unpaginated, available digitally at FamilySearch

Margaret Austin’s notes indicate that John Hammons Sr. was born 1743-50, perhaps in Virginia, and had a wife Mary whom he married 1793. He moved from Patrick County, Virginia, to Surry County, North Carolina, and by 1800, was in Wayne County, Kentucky. In 1807, he moved with sons John Jr., Woodson, and Leroy Hammons to Warren County, Tennessee, where he died between the 1820 census, taken in the summer, and a 9 March 1823 survey made for his heirs in Wayne County, Kentucky. With the survey, the heirs were issued a grant (#15831) after a caveat filed by William Scott was dismissed by the Wayne County court. 

According to Margaret Austin, before he showed up in Patrick County, Virginia, in the early 1790s, John Hammons Sr. can be tracked through Amelia, Lunenburg, and Mecklenburg Counties, Virginia, then to Charlotte County, where she finds him about ten years before he begins to appear in Patrick County records. Margaret thought that the John Hammons of these earlier records was likely the man who ended up in Patrick County by the early 1790s because he used the same earmark for animals and held enslaved people with the same names in these various counties.[7]

Margaret Austin’s notes say that John Hammons Sr.’s wife Mary appears with him in deeds made in Patrick County, Virginia, Wayne County, Kentucky, and Warren County, Tennessee. The first known reference to her as John Hammons Sr.’s wife is in an 8 April 1793 Patrick County deed in which she relinquished her dower interest in the land being sold.[8] By 1830, John Hammons Sr. having died, Mary shows up as head of her household in Warren County, Tennessee, on the federal census, aged 50-60; she is head of her household again in 1840, aged 60-70. Because of the age of John Hammons’s older children, Margaret Austin thinks it can be assumed John Hammons Sr. had a wife or wives prior to Mary, who was mother of his older children. 

In addition to the Patrick County, Virginia, records previously cited for John Hammons Sr. and Jr., Margaret Austin’s research notes point to the following:

  • 10 December 1793: John Hammon Jr. appears in a case entitled Moore Assignee vs. Hammon Jr.
  • 29 January 1795: the case of Martha Fontaine as administratrix of E. Henry, deceased, vs. John Hammonds Jr. was dismissed at cost of the plaintiff.

Move to Kentucky, 1796

As I note above, John Hammons Jr. is on the personal property tax list in Patrick County, Virginia, in 1795 but by 1796 has disappeared from the tax list, with his father remaining. According to researcher Roger Hammons of Houston, Texas, a descendant of John Hammons’s oldest son Charles W. Hammons, Charles was born in 1795-6 in Lincoln County, Kentucky, the parent county of Pulaski County, which was formed from Lincoln and Green Counties in 1798.[9] Margaret Austin’s notes about this claim state, “Lincoln Co. is questionable,” and that Charles W. Hammons’s birthdate was not well-established.

As we’ll see down the road, the 1850 federal census and 1860 federal mortality schedule both show Charles born in 1796, in Kentucky in the case of the 1850 census and in Virginia in the case of the 1860 mortality schedule. I think that, given John Hammons’s removal from the Patrick County tax list after 1795 and his appearance by 1799 in Pulaski County, Kentucky, records, it’s entirely possible that he did, in fact, move his family to Lincoln County, Kentucky, in 1796. As we’ve seen previously, John’s brother-in-law Thomas Brooks, who married Sarah Whitlock, another daughter of Thomas Whitlock and Hannah Phillips, moved from Wythe County, Virginia, to Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1798.

Pulaski County, Kentucky, Records for John Hammons (1799-1800)

By 1799, John Hammons begins appearing in the records of Pulaski County, Kentucky, where he was taxed in August with for one white male over 21, one white male over 16, two enslaved persons over 16, and one horse.[10] On 21 November 1799, as the assignee of Samuel Davis, John Hammons had a survey for 125 acres in Pulaski County on the waters of the south fork of the Cumberland River on the line of Davis and Harper Ratliff.[11] This land fell into Wayne County when Wayne was created from Pulaski and Cumberland Counties in 1800.

Pulaski County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1799, p. 6, available digitally at FamilySearch

John Hammons appears on the 1800 tax list in Pulaski County taxed on 27 June with one white male over 21, three enslaved persons over 16 and six enslaved persons in total, and five horses.[12] The compiler of the tax list had also listed a tract of land on Elk Creek for John, but this information is crossed through in a way that makes the acreage impossible to read.

Wayne County, Kentucky, Records for John Hammons (1801-1807)

By 1801, John Hammons begins appearing in Wayne County, Kentucky, records along with his father John Hammons Sr. Wayne court minutes for 21 April 1801 record earmarks for John Hammonds Sr. and Jr. and for a Lucy Hammonds.[13] (See the graphic at the head of this posting.) The earmark for John Sr. — a cross slit and underkeel in each ear — is the same earmark he had recorded in Patrick County, Virginia, on 13 May 1793. John Jr.’s earmark was a cross and underkeel in each ear. Lucy Hammons/Hammonds has not, as far as I know, been positively identified by researchers.

Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1801, list 2, p. 4, available digitally at FamilySearch
Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. A, p. 21

Wayne County court minutes for 21 September 1801 state that an order was given for the town of Monticello, the county seat, to be laid out with trustees Anthony Gholson, George Singleton, Rogert Oatts, John Hammonds, and Isaac Crabtree.[14] In her book A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, county historian Augusta Phillips Johnson notes that John Hammond (this is the spelling she uses) was a trustee of Monticello when it was first laid out.[15] Margaret Austin’s notes identify this man as John Hammons Jr. and not Sr.

On 27 November 1801, John Hammonds Jr. was taxed in Wayne County for 200 acres on Beaver Creek, one male over 21, one enslaved person, and two horses.[16] Unless I’m mistaken, the John Hammons listed next to him on this tax list, who was taxed on 1 December for 400 acres on Beaver Creek, is his father. Also taxed on the same page are John Jr.’s brothers Woodson and Leroy Hammons. John Hammons Jr. was taxed again for this 200-acre tract on Beaver Creek on 13 August 1802, along with one white male over 21 and four horses.[17]

Note that by 1805, John Hammons Jr.’s brother-in-law Thomas Brooks also had land on Beaver Creek and that he and wife Sarah Whitlock Brooks lived on that land. As noted in the posting I’ve just linked, when Thomas and Sarah sold 44 acres on Beaver Creek to Jacob and Daniel Shearer on 9 January 1818, the deed states that the land was bordered by land belonging to John Hammons.[18] John had left Wayne County by this time, but it appears he had held onto some of his land on Beaver Creek after leaving the county.

On 15 March 1802, John Hammons Sr. bought from Joseph Beard 400 acres on the waters of the Elk Spring Creek in Wayne County.[19] The land lay north of John Mills and on the northeast corner of James Jones. Margaret Austin’s notes state that certificate #565 was issued to John Sr. for this land at Wayne court in March 1804 (grant #15831). She notes as well that a 9 March 1823 survey shows that the heirs of John Sr. had the same land surveyed in the settlement of his estate. John Sr. was taxed for this land in Wayne County on 25 August 1802.[20]

Margaret Austin’s notes for John Hammons Jr. state that Wayne court minutes for September 1802 show him presenting a claim to county court for £1 10s for his services as a trustee of Monticello. She also notes that court minutes from 1801 forward show John Hammons appearing in road orders without designation of Sr. or Jr., and in order to determine which man is listed in these court orders, one would need to identify neighbors.

As noted above and in a previous posting, on 23 May 1803, along with his brother-in-law Thomas Brooks, John Hammons deposed in the in chancery court case filed in Augusta County, Virginia, Whitlock vs. Whitlock, in which the family of Thomas Whitlock’s daughter-in-law Mary Davies Whitlock, widow of Charles Whitlock, sued Thomas Whitlock claiming he had breached a promise to deed half of his land in Wythe County, Virginia, to Charles’s family. The posting I’ve just linked provides details of John Hammons’s testimony.

Margaret Austin’s notes say that in the same month — May 1803 — Wayne County court granted John Hammons Jr. a certificate for 200 acres of land agreeable to location. Margaret is citing a county court order book. On 8 August 1803, John was taxed in Wayne County for 200 acres on Otter Creek, with one white male over 21 and six horses.[21] John was taxed again for this tract on 6 May 1804, along with another 200-acre tract on Otter Creek, and one white male over 21 and three horses.[22]

According to Margaret Austin, Wayne County court minutes for September 1805 say that Thomas Johnson and John Hammons had been recommended as magistrates to replace Martin Sims, Esq., county sheriff. She thinks that the John Hammons of this record is Jr. 

The 1805 tax list for Wayne County is so faint that it’s well-nigh impossible to read in the digitized version at FamilySearch. In 1806 on 21 April, John Hammons Jr. was taxed for 200 acres on Otter Creek along with one male over 21 and eight horses.[23]

Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. A, p. 190

On 6 December 1806, the trustees of the town of Monticello deeded to John Hammonds for $85.25 lot 12 in the town.[24] The deed is signed by trustees George Singleton, Micah Taul, and Thomas Norman. All acknowledged the deed at December court and it was recorded. The deed does not have a Sr. or Jr. designation for this John, but I think it’s likely it was the latter who was purchasing this lot as another town trustee.

John Hammons Jr. last appears on Wayne County’s tax list on 23 May 1807, when he was taxed with no land listed for him, and for one male over 21 and six horses.[25] John’s father and brother Leroy had begun preparing for their move from Wayne County to Warren County, Tennessee, in December 1806, when Leroy, his father John Hammons Sr., and Archibald Blanchett, who married John Sr.’s daughter Mary, sold Joel Coffee of Burke County, North Carolina, 200 acres on Elkspring Creek on the south side of the Cumberland River.[26] On 17 March 1807, John Sr. sold to James Cowen 200 more acres on Elkspring Creek, with wife Mary signing.[27] At this point, it appears that John Sr. and his sons John Jr., Leroy, and Woodson moved to Warren County, Tennessee. As a previous posting notes, in roughly the same time frame, James Brooks, brother of Thomas Brooks who married Sarah Whitlock, also moved from Wayne County to Warren County, Tennessee, along with his father-in-law Godfrey Isbell.

In the next posting, I’ll discuss the final period of John Hammons’s life from his move to Warren County, Tennessee, in 1807 up to his relocation to Jackson County, Alabama, in 1818. He died in the latter county in 1828.


[1] Margaret Austin’s notes state that she is citing Patrick County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. “O,” but they do not give more specific information about the pages of that document she’s citing. They state that she had researched this court order book via Lela C. Adams, Abstracts of Order Book “O”, Patrick County, Virginia, June 1791-August 1800 (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984).

[2] Surry County, North Carolina, Will Bk. 3, p. 84. 

[3] Augusta County, Virginia, Chancery Court case, Whitlock vs. Whitlock, box 10, file 38 (1803-4), available digitally via Library of Virginia’s Virginia Memory chancery records collection

[4] Patrick County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax list 1794, unpaginated, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[5] Ibid., 1795, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[6] Ibid., 1796, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[7] Margaret Austin shared this information in a 3 March 1997 email to me.

[8] Patrick County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 1, p. 92.

[9] Roger Hammons states this information in correspondence in March 1994 and February 1998 that Margaret Austin shared with me; I do not see in this correspondence Roger Hammons’s documentation for the claim that John Hammons Jr. was in Lincoln County, Kentucky, at the time his son Charles W. Hammons was born.

[10] Pulaski County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1799, p. 6, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[11] I’m citing Margaret Austin’s notes, which say that the grant for this tract, #2347, was issued 31 October 1822. The notes do not state the source of the survey record.

[12] Pulaski County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1800, tax list 2, p. 8, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[13] Wayne County, Kentucky, Court Order Bk. A, p. 5.

[14] Ibid., p. 21.

[15] Augusta Phillips Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800-1900 (Louisville: Standard, 1939), p. 22.

[16] Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1801, list 2, p. 4, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[17] Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1802, p. 11, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[18] Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. C, pp. 4-5

[19] Ibid., Bk. A, p. 25.  

[20] Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1802, p. 12, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[21] Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1803, p. 13, available digitally at FamilySearch

[22] Ibid., 1804, p. 18, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[23] Ibid., 1806, p. 15, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[24] Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. A, p. 190.

[25] Wayne County, Kentucky, Tax Bk. 1807, p. 14, available digitally at FamilySearch.

[26]  Wayne County, Kentucky, Deed Bk. A, p. 202.

[27] Ibid., p. 198.

One thought on “Children of Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) and Wife Hannah Phillips: Daughter Who Married John Hammons (1)

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