Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) of Louisa and Wythe Counties, Virginia, and Cumberland County, Kentucky: First Appearance in Montgomery County, March 1776

NARA, Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, Virginia, 7th Regiment, #2577, RG 93, available digitally at Fold3

Or, Subtitled: What a Close Reading of an Historical Document Might Reveal

In this posting, I’ll begin my documentation of the life of Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – May 1830) after he arrived in Montgomery County, Virginia, by 1776: in previous postings, I’ve discussed his probable date of birth, and the sparse documentation I have for him prior to his appearance in Montgomery County records (and here). I noted that, after his appearance in the estate settlement of his father James Whitlock in Louisa County, Virginia, in November 1757,[1] the first solid record I have for Thomas — other than the statement of the bible of his daughter Sarah Whitlock and her husband Thomas Brooks that Sarah was born in Bedford County, Virginia, on 9 June 1774 — is a 1 March 1776 deed in Montgomery County to which he was a witness.[2]

Thomas Whitlock (abt. 1745 – 1830) of Louisa and Wythe Counties, Virginia, and Cumberland County, Kentucky: His Early Life and Marriage (to 1776)

Montgomery County, Virginia, Deed Bk. A, pp. 160-1

Or, Subtitled: When Phillips appears to mean Whitlock

I ended my first posting about Thomas Whitlock telling you that in my next posting, I’d discuss Thomas’s marriage to Hannah Phillips, and would look at what we know of him (this is very little) prior to his settling on Little Reed Island Creek in what would later (i.e., in 1790) become Wythe County, Virginia. Aside from a valuable clue (to be discussed below) that Thomas and his wife Hannah may have been living in Bedford County, Virginia, when their daughter Sarah was born on 9 June 1774, I have no certain information about his whereabouts from November 1757, when his father’s estate was divided, until 1 March 1776, when he witnessed a deed in Montgomery County, from which Wythe was formed — a document that indicates to me he had settled by that date in what would become Wythe and was probably already living on Little Reed Island Creek, where he’d remain until his and Hannah’s relocation to Kentucky in 1805.

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….