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

James Whitlock’s estate division, Louisa County, Virginia, Inventory Bk. 1743-1790, p. 40

Or Subtitled: “[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”

Thomas Whitlock was born in St. Martin’s parish, Louisa County, Virginia, around 1745. Or so I have deduced by putting a number of pieces of information together and asking what they tell me about Thomas’s probable date of birth. Figuring out birthdates of people born in the Southern states (and colonies) prior to the 1850 federal census, which first began providing specific ages of those enumerated, is notoriously challenging. Good luck at finding a family bible or a church baptism or birth record in most cases. If you’re fortunate enough to know exactly where someone — this is usually a male, since women unfortunately often do not appear in official documents — was living when he came of age and began appearing on tax lists, that’s one good way to get a fairly accurate fix on a year of birth. Otherwise….

Children of Thomas Brooks (abt. 1747 – 1805) and Wife Margaret: Robert Brooks (1780 – 1847)

Biographical History of Tippecanoe, White, Jasper, Newton, Benton, Warren and Pulaski Counties, Indiana, vol. 2 (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), p. 1049

Or, Subtitled: “Respected citizens, and … consistent members of the Methodist church”

The obituary of Robert Brooks, son of Thomas Brooks and Margaret Beaumont/Beamon, in the Methodist publication Western Christian Advocate states that he was born 8 November 1780 in Frederick County, Virginia.[1] His tombstone in Abbot cemetery at Fickle in Clinton County, Indiana, states that he died 14 June 1847, aged 60 years and 7 months.[2] Note that the date of birth implied by this tombstone inscription would be 14 November 1786, which conflicts with the date stated in Robert’s obituary. The 1830 federal census puts him in the 1780-1790 age category, while the 1840 federal census shows him born between 1790 and 1800.[3] I find Robert first appearing on the tax list in Wythe County, Virginia, in 1803, which suggests that he was born by or before 1785.[4]

See Find a Grave memorial page of Robert Brooks, Abbot cemetery, Fickle, Clinton County, Indiana, created by Thelma Brooks Morgan, maintained by TCHA Research Library, with a tombstone photo by Thelma Brooks Morgan

Thomas Brooks (abt. 1747-1805): Wythe County, Virginia Years, 1793-1805

Will of Thomas Brooks, 4 November 1804, Wythe County, Virginia, Wythe County, Virginia, Will Bk. 1, pp. 308-9

Or, Subtitled: Fertile New Land, Lead Mines, Shot Towers and Forges, and Movement from the Middle Colonies into the Valley of Virginia

With my first posting about Thomas Brooks (abt. 1747-1805), I shared my information about Thomas’s life in Frederick County, Virginia, up to 1792, when he moved his family to Wythe County, Virginia. My account begins with a March 1767 deed of Patrick Rice to his son John, which Thomas witnessed, the first certain record I have of him in Frederick County. Since, as my posting indicates, I have not found information about Thomas’s father, I haven’t been able to track this family line sufficiently to say with any certainty where Thomas Brooks was born — a point to which I’ll return when I discuss in more detail the information I have about Thomas’s mother Mary, who made her will in Frederick County on 9 July 1786, with the will being probated on 4 April 1787.