Children of Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) and Wife Hannah Phillips: Charles Whitlock (abt. 1773 – 1796) and Wife Mary Davies

Charles Whitlock’s Life, Wythe County, Virginia, 1793-6

As another posting indicates, on or before 29 January 1793 in Wythe County, Virginia, Thomas Whitlock’s son Charles married Mary Davies.[1] The posting I’ve just linked explains that this date is the date on which the Methodist minister marrying the couple, Daniel Lockett, returned the marriage to Wythe court. As the same posting states, since Charles married without parental consent, it appears he was of age by January 1793, and this, coupled with the fact that he first appears on tax lists in 1793, suggests a birth year of around 1773 for him. As another previous posting states, Charles’s wife Mary was the daughter of Henry Davies and Jane Crockett of Wythe County. The Davies surname is also frequently spelled as Davis.

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

As yet another previous posting indicates, Thomas Whitlock and his son Charles were taxed next to each other on 3 April 1793 in Captain James Davis’s tax district in Wythe County.[2] Charles was taxed for one tithable (himself) and one horse. That father and son were taxed side by side suggests that after marrying, Charles had begun living next to his father on half of Thomas’s land, as subsequent documents we’ll mention below tell us was the case. As I’ve just stated above, this 1793 tax list is the first on which Charles appears in Wythe County.

A number of pieces of information tell us that Thomas Whitlock and wife Hannah Phillips were living in Bedford County, Virginia, from at least 1769 to 1776, when Thomas begins to show up in Montgomery (later Wythe) County, records. It seems likely that, as with his sister Sarah, Charles Whitlock was born in Bedford County.

As also noted in a previous posting, Charles appears again on the tax list in Wythe County from 1794-6, in each instance taxed next to his father. In 1794, he and his father are taxed on 19 May in Captain James Davis’s district, with Charles taxed for a tithable and a horse.[3] In 1795, Thomas and Charles are again in James Davis’s district and Charles is taxed for one tithable and four horses.[4] And in 1796, when Thomas’s Whitlock’s nephew John Whitlock, son of Thomas’s brother Charles, is also taxed with Thomas and his son Charles on 17 March in Captain Samuel Crockett’s district, Charles again has one tithable and four horses.[5]

Then in April 1796, Charles’s life ended at the young age of 23 or thereabouts when a tree fell on him in Wythe County, Virginia. We know this because, as a previous posting has indicated, when William Davies, guardian of Charles’s daughters Agnes and Hannah, filed suit on their behalf and on behalf of their mother Mary Davies against Thomas Whitlock in Wythe County chancery court in September 1799, John Whitlock — the nephew of Thomas I just mentioned above — deposed on 7 April 1803 that he was living with Thomas at the time Charles died, and that Charles was killed by a falling tree in April 1796.[6] (See the digital image at the head of the posting.) John Whitlock’s affidavit does not state the year in which Charles died, but since, as we’ll see in a moment, the petition for administration of his estate was filed in August 1796 (and since Charles disappears from tax lists after 1796), it’s clear that he died in April 1796. Neither his cousin John Whitlock’s affidavit nor other documents in the case file state precisely what happened to cause a tree to fall on Charles: Was he cutting a tree down, or did a tree perhaps fall due to high winds?

Information about Charles in Whitlock vs. Whitlock Case File

The posting I’ve linked in the paragraph above provides a close reading of the Whitlock vs. Whitlock chancery case file, which contains other valuable pieces of information about Charles, including that, after he married Mary Davies, Charles settled on half of his father’s land, cleared more of it, cultivated it, and built a house, kitchen, and barn. His father Thomas Whitlock allowed Charles the profit of what he raised, but did not ever deed the land to him. 

After Charles was killed by a falling tree in April 1796, Thomas allowed Mary and her children to live on the land and raise crops there, even paying them rent for a portion he used. All these pieces of information were asserted by Mary’s uncle William Davies in his September 1799 petition filing suit on her behalf and on behalf of her daughters, with claims that Thomas Whitlock had promised to deed his son half of his land, but then reneged on the promise when Charles died young, having produced only female heirs.

On 14 September 1802, Mary’s father Henry Davies deposed in the case, stating that some days before Charles married Mary, Thomas Whitlock invited Henry to his house, and the following morning walked him around Thomas’s land. Thomas showed Henry the land he intended to give Charles if he married Mary Davies, indicating that he would give him a cleared field, Bennetsfield, and showing him a fence on the west side of Little Reed Island Creek that was to be the line between Thomas Whitlock and his son Charles. The affidavit notes that Charles had cleared land and built a house, kitchen, and barn on it.

On 14 December 1802, Thomas Whitlock responded to the petition of William Davies before Jesse Evans in Evansham/Wytheville. He stated that he owned 369 acres on Little Reed Island Creek, but had never intended to give his son Charles half of his land, since he had only one tract of land and “a numerous family to support” with no livelihood other than what the land afforded. The petition also notes that Thomas Whitlock had five children besides Charles, and he it would be unjust to his other children if he gave half of his land to Charles. (Note that, though Thomas deposed that he owned only one tract of 369 acres, when he disposed of his Wythe County landholdings in 1805, the acreage amounted to 568½).

In response to William Davies’s allegation that he had paid rent to Mary following Charles’s death, Thomas Whitlock stated that after Charles died, Henry Davies had sent an enslaved woman to assist Mary in making a crop. Thomas also provided a hand to assist Mary during one summer. Not considering it rent, he had allowed Mary to keep all the crop she had made on nine acres, along with a third of the corn made on six acres.

In his 7 April 1803 deposition that I mention above, Thomas Whitlock’s nephew John Whitlock, who was living with Thomas when Charles died, said that after Charles’s death, Thomas’s hand and an enslaved woman who had come into the possession of Mary’s mother worked together on Thomas Whitlock’s land as well as on the land claimed by Mary. With their labor, Mary raised nine acres of corn, and part of another six-acre field, which she claimed as her own. John Whitlock noted that he understood from Thomas that he would have given Mary all the corn raised on these fields, had his own croppers not also worked this land. John also testified that he had heard Charles say he intended to move to the western country, and that if he did so, he would expect something for the improvements he had made to the land his father had shared with him.

John Whitlock also stated that after Charles died, Mary had, at her own choice, moved to Thomas Whitlock’s house, and that Thomas had moved Mary back to her former home in the fall. According to John, there was no evidence that Thomas had ever intended to give the land in dispute to his son Charles.

On the same day that his brother John deposed (7 April 1803), Thomas Whitlock Jr. also did so. He testified that some time after Charles married, he was at Charles’s house and in conversation, Charles declared that he intended to move to the French Broad to buy land he had seen there and hoped his father would help pay for. Thomas Jr. told Charles that he was unwise to think of moving, since his father’s land was enough to sustain him and his family during his father’s lifetime and, since Charles was an only son, he would no doubt inherit the land. Charles answered that he expected himself and his younger sister (Mildred) to inherit the whole of their father’s land, with the other children having sums equal to its value. According to Thomas Jr., Charles then said, however, that he expected his father to sell his Virginia land and move west, too.

On the same day (7 April 1803), Thomas Brooks Sr., father of Thomas Brooks Jr. who married Thomas Whitlock’s daughter Sarah, also testified. He noted that Charles Whitlock had been at his house before his death, and had a few days prior to his death returned from the French Broad, where he had seen land he wanted to buy. A Mr. Carter was present and thought the price too high. Charles Whitlock answered that he had two good horses and his father another two or three that he could spare along with some money, and that he expected his father to help him buy the land.

On 14 June 1803 in Evansham (i.e., Wytheville), more deponents testified. James Calfee stated that two days prior to his son Charles’s marriage, Thomas Whitlock asked James to accompany him to the clerk’s office to obtain a license for the marriage. James replied that since this marriage had been agree on several times and the agreement then broken, it wouldn’t be worth his time to go with Thomas to obtain a license for it. Thomas then stated that he intended to see that this agreement would not be broken again, and that after the previous one was broken, he had gone to see Henry Davies and not finding him at home, had asked Mary Davies to come to his house. Henry then came looking for Mary, and Thomas showed him the land he intended to give Charles if Charles married Mary. Thomas further mentioned that he could not give his son more clear land than a field which lay over the creek, and that Charles was more able to clear land than was Thomas.

Calfee also said that when Thomas Whitlock asked him to go to the clerk of court, he asked Thomas whether he intended Charles to live on the same side of the creek with his father, and Thomas said that this was his intent, and he wanted Charles to build a house at a place he described. According to Calfee, Thomas also noted that since Charles was fond of Henry Davies’s family, Thomas wanted this marriage and had land enough for himself and his son. The marriage occurred two days later. Calfee notes that he lived two miles from Thomas Whitlock and that he and others had always understood that Charles Whitlock owned the land in question. James Calfee’s wife Jean verified her husband’s testimony, saying she had heard the conversation between her husband and Thomas Whitlock.

The same day, Esther Ellis gave an affidavit, saying that Charles had told her the day before his marriage that his father had informed him if he did not marry Mary Davies, Thomas would no longer allow Charles to live with him, and Charles would not have any of his father’s estate. Ellis also noted that a few days before the marriage, Thomas Whitlock had come to Henry Davies’s house and had met a long time with Mary to discuss the marriage, and had seemed so anxious to have the marriage that he had brought the minister himself.

Ignatius Turman then testified, stating that during Charles’s lifetime, he (Ignatius) had helped Thomas Whitlock make shingles at a place called the Rich Hill near Thomas’s house. They had come along a field where the fence had been let in to include a small piece of newly cleared ground. Thomas had told Turman that he would have his son Charles let out that fence, because he wanted a straight line between himself and Charles. He had also told Turman after Charles’s death that if Charles had lived and had had a son and named him Thomas, he would have given Charles a portion of his land. But as Charles had had only daughters, they should not have the land Thomas promised Charles.

On the same day, Randall Fugate testified that on the day Charles married Mary, about a half hour after the marriage he heard Thomas Whitlock say that now it was fitting that both of their fathers do something for the newly married couple. Fugate also thought he had heard Thomas say he had given Charles half of his land, after which Thomas Whitlock and Henry Davies had walked out of the room.

Henry Davies then deposed, saying that the fall after Charles died, he had been at Mary’s house to make a cupboard, but unable to do this, he sent for Thomas Whitlock, who was then hauling corn from a field that had belonged to Charles. A few days thereafter, Davies came in and saw a quantity of corn in a crib that Mary told him had come from the field which Thomas had rented from her.

Wilson Davies testified next, saying that after Charles’s marriage, he had overhead Thomas Whitlock tell a stranger that a field Wilson was harvesting along with Thomas Whitlock and others was on land that he had given to his son Charles. Wilson was present when Charles raised his house, on which occasion Thomas counseled his son to leave room to build a better house. On that day, Thomas had stated that the land was absolutely his son’s.

More depositions were taken in Wayne County, Kentucky, on 10 March 1804. James Ingram deposed that he was intimate with the family of Thomas Whitlock, and at the time of Charles’s marriage up to his death, he never heard Charles or his father say that the land in dispute had belonged to Charles. He had heard Charles say that he would “have to go to the backwoods in quest of land for the plantation his father & himself then lived on was too inconsiderable for them both.” But Charles also seemed confident that if he remained in Virginia, his father would give him part of the land he then lived on. Ingram also said that Thomas Whitlock had been agreeable to Charles’s marriage, but that Charles had told him prior to the marriage that he would not marry Mary Davies, but would leave the country instead.

Richard Chrystal then deposed that he lived with Thomas Whitlock’s family a year before Charles married and two years after. During this time, he never heard any intimation of Thomas Whitlock giving his son land. According to Chrystal, sometime after his marriage, Charles displeased his father by his behavior and Thomas reprimanded him. After this, Charles asked his father to give him property of his own, saying that he would remove to some other country, adding that he wished not to live so near the old man lest he might not please him in his further conduct, to which the old man agreed.

Chrystal was asked who sent for the parson to marry Charles and Mary. Chrystal responded that it was “old Mr. Whitlock.” Chrystal was then asked whether Thomas Whitlock was not very much dissatisfied at his son’s match before it took place, and Chrystal responded that this was true, and that Thomas had expressed dissatisfaction at the marriage even two days before it took place.

On the same day on which Ingram and Chrystal deposed, Thomas Whitlock’s son-in-law Thomas Brooks also gave an affidavit. He stated that seven or eight years earlier, he had been with Charles Whitlock a few hours before his death, and had heard him say that he would have to go to the backwoods in quest of land for himself, since he had none of his own. Charles said that he had some good horses and his father had money and horses and would assist him in buying new land. 

At the same hearing, Thomas Whitlock’s son-in-law John Hammons also testified, stating that he had lived for some months on the land of Thomas Whitlock. John deposed that Charles had had frequent conversations with him on the subject of the backwoods, and he had often heard Charles say that he was interested in removing to the Scioto River, since his father had land enough to support only himself and his family. Charles also told John that, if he urged, his father might deed him title to the lower end of Thomas’s tract on which Charles lived, but that he would not accept the land if his father did deed it to him. John also said that he had heard Charles say that he had property of his own, and with that and what his father would give him, he expected he could purchase a tract in the backwoods equal to the whole of his father’s land. John had had a conversation about this with Charles a few days before Charles’ death.

John Hammons was asked whether Thomas Whitlock had objected to Charles’s widow Mary moving into his house after Charles’s death. He replied that there had been no objections, nor had Thomas objected when she moved back to her previous house. When asked whether Thomas had paid rent to Mary, John said that four people, including an enslaved woman who belonged to Mary, had worked the whole plantation, including the part occupied by Charles in his lifetime, and Thomas Whitlock was free at his own discretion to give Mary what he thought fit as reimbursement for the labor of her enslaved woman.

Records Following Charles’s Death

The preceding affidavits from the Whitlock vs. Whitlock case file cast interesting light on the life of Charles Whitlock and his wife Mary Davies from not long before they and up to Charles’s death in April 1796 and in the period after his death, when Mary remained on the land on which they had been living next to Charles’s father Thomas Whitlock. After Charles died in April 1796, Mary and her father Henry Davies gave bond on 9 August 1796 with Joseph Crockett and Henry Davies Jr. in the sum of £1,000 to administer Charles’s estate.[7] Wythe court then ordered David Sayers, Charles Coffee/Calfee, Joseph Stephens, and Robert Carter to appraise the estate.

Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1795-6, p. 126
Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 77-8
Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1795-6, unpaginated, 10 November 1796

On 10 September 1796, the inventory and appraisal were done by Joseph Stephens, David Sayers, and Robert Carter. The estate consists of various farm implements, livestock (eleven hogs, five horses, cattle, and sheep), and household items such as a cupboard, two beds, pewter, tinware, a table, four chairs, a spinning wheel, a chest, tea ware, plates, and glasses. Stephens, Sayers, and Carter presented the inventory to court on 10 November 1796 and it was then recorded.[8]   

Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1796-8, p. 184

On 8 May 1798, Wythe court appointed a guardian for Charles’s two daughters Agnes/Nancy and Hannah Whitlock. The guardian appointed was their mother’s uncle William Davies, who posted a bond of $1,000 for the guardianship with their grandfather Henry Davies and Robert Sayers.[9]

Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk.. 1799-1801 p. 3.

Wythe court minutes for 11 June 1799 state that Sylvia and Byram Bredwell, base-born children of Mary Bredwell, were bound out on that date to Charles Whitlock.[10] Since it’s clear that Charles Whitlock, son of Thomas and Hannah Phillips Whitlock, had died in April 1796, I’m not quite sure what to make of this record. Does it mean that the Bredwell siblings were bound to the estate of Charles Whitlock? Or does this record refer to the Charles Whitlock for whom Thomas Whitlock’s son Charles was named, Thomas’s brother Charles, who, as far as I know, did not ever live in Wythe County, Virginia, but who was still living in June 1799 in Stokes County, North Carolina?

As I note above, in September 1799, Mary Davies Whitlock’s uncle William Davies filed suit on behalf of her children Agnes and Hannah Whitlock (and Mary herself) against Thomas Whitlock. The lawsuit is discussed above, and in detail in this previous posting. On 13 July 1804, Augusta chancery court (the case was originally filed in Wythe and then moved to Augusta County) handed down a verdict in the case of Whitlock vs. Whitlock. This decreed that Thomas Whitlock’s granddaughters were entitled to a fee simple estate in a moiety of the land of which Thomas Whitlock was seized. The court instructed the Wythe County surveyor to divide the land, giving the children the dwellings their father had erected, along with Bennetsfield.

As the posting linked in the preceding paragraph states, on 11 May 1805, Thomas Whitlock and wife Hannah sold their land in Wythe County, in preparation to move to Cumberland County, Kentucky, and as they did so, they deeded to their granddaughters Agnes and Hannah Whitlock 199½ acres in obedience to the chancery court decree.[11] The deed describes the tract as the lower half of the land on which Thomas Whitlock had lately lived, lying on both sides of Little Reed Island Creek in Wythe County.

Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1805-8, unpaginated, 10 October 1807

By 13 October 1807, Mary Davies Whitlock had died in Wythe County. On that date, David Sayers Jr. and Henry Davies gave bond in the amount of $3,000 with James McGavock Jr., Samuel Graham, Thomas Herbert, William Herbert, and Aquilla Davis for administration of Mary’s estate.[12] Henry Davies was, of course, Mary’s father. David Sayers Jr. was Mary’s brother-in-law, husband of her sister Rhoda.

Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1805-8, unpaginated, 10 October 1807

At the same court session, the court appointed David Sayers Jr. guardian of his niece Hannah Whitlock (born about 1795). He gave bond with James McGavock Jr. and Samuel Graham for the administration.[13]At this session, the court also ordered Thomas Herbert, Abner Sayers, Harbert Allison, and William Herbert to appraise Mary’s estate.[14]

Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, p. 395

On 24 October 1807, Thomas Herbert, Harbert Allison, and Abner Sayers inventoried the estate of Mary Davies Whitlock.[15] The estate consisted of livestock (hogs, cattle, horses, geese), various household items and farm tools, an enslaved boy Davy, and an unnamed enslaved woman and her child. It was valued at $1,122.24. The inventory was recorded at Wythe court on 8 December 1807.[16]

Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 396-7

Mary’s estate was sold by David Sayers and Henry Davies on 26 October 1807.[17] Though the inventory had included three enslaved persons, they do not appear in the estate sale. The chief buyers at the sale were members of Mary’s family, including her father Henry and brother Henry, Jr., along with Wilson Davies and Caty Davies. Members of interrelated families, including Spencer Breeding and Absalom Hurst, were also buyers at the sale. The sale was returned to court in December 1807.

Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1805-8, unpaginated, 9 March 1808

Wythe court minutes for 9 March 1808 state that, on the motion of William Davies, the appointment of David Sayers Jr. as guardian of Hannah Whitlock had been set aside, since it had been “improvidently made.”[18]As a previous posting notes, down the road, when Thomas Whitlock made his will in Cumberland County, Kentucky, on 22 January 1824, he stated, “I give and bequeath to my 2 grand Daughters the heirs of my Son Charles Whitlock Deceased Two dollars in full of their part of my estate.”[19]

In my next posting, I’ll share information about the children of Charles Whitlock and Mary Davies, their daughters Agnes (who married John Grayson) and Hannah (who married James Madison Calfee).

[1] Wythe County, Virginia, Miscellaneous Marriage Bk. 1790-1905, p. 1. As did Charles’s sibling Sarah and husband Thomas Brooks, members of the Lockett family including Daniel’s brother William went from Wythe County, Virginia, to Wayne County, Kentucky: see  Augusta Phillips Johnson, A Century of Wayne County, Kentucky, 1800-1900 (Louisville: Standard, 1939), p. 77; and Mary B. Kegley, Early Adventurers on the Western Waters, vol. 3 (Wytheville: Kegley Books, 1980), p. 312.

[2] Wythe County, Virginia, Personal Property Tax List, 1793, unpaginated; available digitally at FamilySearch.

[3] Ibid., 1794, unpaginated; available digitally at FamilySearch.

[4] Ibid., 1795, unpaginated; available digitally at FamilySearch.

[5] Ibid., 1796, unpaginated; available digitally at FamilySearch.

[6] 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.

[7] Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1795-6, p. 126.

[8] Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 77-8; and ibid., unpaginated, 10 November 1796.

[9] Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1796-8, p. 184. 

[10] Ibid., Bk. 1799-1801 p. 3.

[11] Wythe County, Virginia, Deed Bk. 4, pp. 291-2.

[12] Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1805-8, unpaginated, 10 October 1807.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, p. 395.

[16] Ibid., and Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1805-8, unpaginated, 8 December 1807.

[17] Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 396-7.

[18] Wythe County, Virginia, Court Order Bk. 1805-8, unpaginated, 9 March 1808.

[19] Cumberland County, Kentucky, Will Bk. B, pp. 423-4.

One thought on “Children of Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) and Wife Hannah Phillips: Charles Whitlock (abt. 1773 – 1796) and Wife Mary Davies

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