Friday, October 13, 2017

John Williams son of Theophilus Williams


Theophilus Williams son of John Williams the Younger

   THEOPHILUS WILLIAMS and OTHER FAMILES of the NUESE RIVER REGION 

DNA testing taken by myself showed that I match with John Williams the 17th Century Welsh emigrant to south side Virginia. There are no legal documents or land deeds in Virginia or North Carolina that definitively link Britton Williams my last known ancestor for whom there is a paper trail to the family of Theophilus Williams. However circumstantial evidence and geographical proximity has led me to believe that Theophilus Williams is the grandfather of Britton Williams mostly likely through John Williams whom I believe to be his father. Until more evidence is found I will promote my assertion that Theophilus Williams who was the grandson of John Williams the Welsh Emigrant was one of my progenitors.

John Williams the Younger, the eldest son of John Williams Senior and Anne Vasser* seems the most likely person to be the great grandfather of Britton Williams through his son Theophilus Williams. Theophilus Williams migrated to Onslow County in the mid 18th Century and his eldest son John Williams was in St. George Parish Georgia by 1762. Near this John Williams is the land grant of Britton Williams. Of all of Theophilus Williams children his eldest son John Williams is the least documented and there for the most likely candidate due to circumstantial evidence. While all this is speculation, it fits the most likely scenario for the paternity of Britton Williams.

Theophilus' life seems to have followed the pattern of those middle farmers of colonial North Carolina times whose families owned property in land and slaves, and usually had a rudimental education. He would have lived the life of a country squire as that Theophilus was a large land owner in Bertie County and Oslow County, North Carolina for most of his life.

When Bertie Precinct was established in 1722, the Southwest parish was designated for it, but the name was changed to Society Parish in honor of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. William Dukenfield of "Salmon Creek" was one of the early supporters and gave 52 acres for a permanent building in 1721 "lying on the northwest side of Ducking Run". It was very difficult to find Anglican ministers willing to serve due to the low salaries and early pioneer life style. The Rev. John Boyd, was the first Anglican missionary to come to the Society Parish. Perhaps he came as the result of Gov. Johnston's plea to the bishop of London: "we are a most heathenish part of American and have no sect amongst us but Quakers who daily increase." Rev. Boyd had a reputation for drunkenness and died by early 1740's when Rev. John Holmes served for a brief time. It was during this time that Theophilus Williams decided to leave Bertie County.


We know nothing of Theophilus Williams’ personality, and can only infer that he became a Baptist as that he migrated with other clusters of Baptist neighbors from Bertie County to Onslow County. A clue to his disposition is that his children did not seem to settle around him but struck out on their own which may indicate that he was a difficult man but that is pure speculation. 

Theophilus Williams was in northern North Carolina from the time he was 18 years old until he was nearly 47 years old. He spent these years mainly in a large county in the northeastern part of North Carolina called Bertie. The county originated in 1722 when the state legislature decided to divide the county from Chowan Precinct.  Bertie had a distinct advantage over other counties in the region because of its rich soil sustained by the rivers that flowing along and within its borders.  The Chowan and Roanoke Rivers, along with the Cashie River, bolstered the agricultural economy of Bertie ever since the first Native Americans inhabited the land. 

The Native Americans who dwelt in the present-day Bertie boundary were the Tuscarora, a tribal branch of the northern Iroquois.  In the middle of the seventeenth century, English explorers and hunters had traversed the land in search of fur goods, trade opportunities with the Indians, and open land for future settlers.  The influx of the white traders and trappers provoked the Tuscarora which eventually led to the Tuscarora War (1711-1713).  It was after this war ended that Theophilus Williams followed his father to lands near the Cashie River. Here he would marry and raise a family and lived for nearly 25 years. Theophilus was never involved in the Indian conflicts of western North Carolina how ever he lived among the Tuscaroras as his lands bordered the large Tuscarora reservation. He probably personally knew Tom Blount, King of the Tuscaroras.

An important record appeared in the Bertie County Court Minutes of 1742, when, for some unknown reason, Theophilus Williams had to prove his rights in North Carolina on behalf of himself, his wife Christian, and his children Joseph, James, Esther, Lewis, and Ferebee. In this court record the names of eleven African Americans who Theophilus held in bondage were revealed as Toney, Boston, Pompey, Jupiter, and Rose, Phillis, Patt, Jenny, Silva, Chloe, and Pegg. The records do not reveal which of these people were adults, who might have been couples, or who were children. Left off this list was his eldest son John Williams who may have already been married and perhaps living in New Hanover County to the south.

Theophilus Williams was an educated individual as he was asked to be executor of many wills in Bertie County, as well as act as a witness to other legal documents. His father John Williams was literate and signed his name on all his documents rather than making simply his mark. Theophilus was probably home taught or tutored but his brother in law James Castellow had attended college in Scotland before emigrating. Theophilus was probably also active in the affairs of the local county government but there is no evidence that he took part in Colonial affairs. However his younger brother Arthur Williams and brother-in-law James Castellow were magistrates in Bertie County and also representatives in the North Carolina Assembly. 

 There are little clues about Theophilus Williams' life after he moved from Bertie County to Onslow County about 1742 as that a hurricane in 1752 destroyed that county’s records.  Onslow Precinct was formed in 1734 from the New Hanover Precinct of Craven County.  The colonial capital at the time was located in the town of New Bern and as his relatives were members of the colonial assembly which met there it is understandable that he may have visited the region. He must have found Onslow County’s flat, gently rolling terrain located in the southeastern coastal plain of North Carolina favorable as he would live there for nearly 20 years from 1742 until 1762.  After  that time he's found in Duplin and Johnston County records.

Theophilus Williams's descendants lived in the various counties that were formed out of Craven and New Hanover Counties. When Theophilus first received property outside of Bertie County in Onslow County in 1739, only the following counties of Craven, New Hanover, and Onslow had been formed. Within these new counties the properties of Theophilus Williams and his children were established and due to the changing jurisdiction over the years it has been difficult to locate documents regarding him and his children. None of them stayed behind in Bertie County nor returned there.


By 1746 Johnston County had been formed out of the western portion of Craven County and four years later Duplin County was formed from the northern portion of New Hanover County and was bordered by Onslow County on the east and Johnston on the north. The extinct Dobbs County was formed in 1758 from the eastern half of Johnston County above Duplin County. In 1779 after the death of Theophilus Williams while many of his descendants were still in the region, the western part of Dobbs County became Wayne County bordering Johnston County and in 1791 Dobbs County was divided into two new counties, Glasgow County, later renamed Greene County and Lenoir County and Dobbs ceased to exist. Dobbs County records are scattered among these counties. Sampson County was formed from the western half of Duplin in 1784 and many of Duplin’s records were transferred to Sampson.


Theophilus Williams was born circa 1694 in probably in Lower Southwark Parish in Surrey County of the Colony of Virginia where his father had a large farm that he inherited from Theophilus’ grandfather John Williams the Welsh emigrant. His parents were John Williams the Younger and Anne Moore. Theophilus was probably their second son John and named for an uncle who died in infancy about the time Theophilus was born.

Theophilus Williams’ father John Williams the Younger moved the family from Upper Parish in the Isle of Wight County, Virginia to Horse Spring Meadow in the Cashie River area about 1714 after the Tuscarora Indian War in North Carolina was settled. Most of the Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina, north of the Roanoke River, had remained neutral and they received an 8000 acre reservation that was just west of lands on which Theophilus’ father John Williams settled. Some of Theophilus Williams cousins and even a brother had Tuscarora wives.

Theophilus Williams' childhood was spent in Southside Virginia, in the counties of Surrey and Isle of Wight. He was a young man in his teens, when he came with his father’s family to the Cashie River area of what was then part of Chowan Precinct in Albemarle County, North Carolina. He was probably about 18 years of age and would have worked with his father and brothers, John and James to clear the land at Horse Pond Swamp on the northeast side of the Cashie River..



John Williams the Younger’s eldest sons John Williams the Third and Theophilus were young men both, over 18 years old in 1712. His sons James and Isaac were adolescents soon to become young men. No doubt John the Younger was worried about the future for his children if he stayed in Virginia where the soil was depleted from decades of growing tobacco. After two generations and forty years or more the lands in Surry and Isle of Wight Counties were worn out and began to yield less and less profit.



John Williams and Theophilus Williams, on 18 July 1715, witnessed a record where William Jones gave his Power of Attorney to Phillip Walston to acknowledge a transaction between Jones and Martin Gardner. The significance of this record is that it shows that Theophilus Williams was of legal age at least 21 years old [born prior July 1694] to have been a witness to this document. The John Williams mentioned as the other witness may have been the father or the son. It is impossible to tell.

On 29 August 1716 “Proprietary Rent Fees” were assessed for the tracts of land that “lyes between Mr. John Duckenfield and John Williams’ line” in Chowan Precinct. This was an area between Salmon Creek and the Cashie River. This must have been just up to John Williams the younger’s estates as he is not included in this record. However it included Theophilus Williams, Samuel Herring, Edward Moore and John Plowman. Although Theophilus Williams was included in this record he showed him owning no property. He may have paid what was essentially a poll tax so he could vote in the colony. Accordingly Samuel Herring owned 150 acres, Edward Moore owned 250 acres and John Plowman held 600 acres.

John Williams the Younger who lived by the Cashie River at a branch called Horse Spring and was enumerated with his son Theophilus as Tax number 272. He is shown as owning 1050 acres. Theophilus was also listed but not as owning any property. He paid a poll Tax however so he would be eligible to vote. He was at least 21 years old or older (before 1696). Theophilus is the only son of John Williams listed in this 1717 Tax census. John Williams III* was not enumerated and evidently did not own property and chose not to pay a poll tax. Another explanation may be that perhaps he remained in Virginia to care for property there. The other sons Isaac, James, and Arthur were under 21 years and ineligible to pay a poll tax in order to vote.



John Williams the Younger’s so John added to his lands on 17 May 1718 when he bought 440 acres on the west side of the “kesiah” River from his neighbors Martin and Ann Gardner. Oddly the Gardners were not listed in the 1717 Tax Record. Martin Gardner of Chowan Precinct to John Williams for 8 £ sold 440 acres on west side of Kasiah River joining William Wallston a branch of Roquest and John Edwards. Witnesses were William Jones Matthew Edwards and Theophilus Williams. Later that summer John Jones and his wife Mary sold a tract of land on the “main swamp of Kesiah on 2 July 1718. Edward Moore and his wife were the witnesses


In 1720 Theophilus Williams, when he was about 24 years old, he was included in a tithing census that was taken of all the adult male inhabitants living west of the Chowan River. The census was dated 9 January 1719 by the old Calendar but was actually taken in 1720. Before 1754 the English calendar's legal new year was March 25. Any date between that and January 1st was listed as in the previous year which easily confuses researchers unaware of the change. Theophilus was listed as a "freeholders living between Salmon Creek" and “Cashy River”. He is listed in the same tax household as John Williams, his father, or possibly his brother. Theophilus was shown not owning any land but he paid a poll tax so that he could vote and take part in community affairs.



A tax census dated 9 January 1719 on the old style calendar but was actually taken in 1720, enumerated fifty-eight freeholders [landowners] or family heads living west of the Chowan River between Salmon Creek and the Cashie River in the Chowan Precinct. These men were generally well educated men with strong economical, political, and social ties with the county seat of government at Queen Anne [Edenton] on the northeast portion of Albemarle Sound. Many of these families were related to one another by marriage or other forms of kinship. Among these 58 freeholders were John Williams, Theophilus Williams, Samuel Herring, his brother John Herring and Thomas Williamson [Williams]. Not enumerated were John Williams III and future son on law James Castellaw. John Williams III may have still been included in his father’s household which also might indicate that Theophilus Williams was a married man in 1720. James Castellaw was most likely living east of the Chowan River.





This list of freeholders was taken by county constable Phillip Walston who was a near neighbor of John Williams the younger. While Walston’s list contained the names of 58 men, there were many more men and their families living in the area than that. The census only enumerated property owners and those who paid a poll tax so as to be eligible to vote. John Williams the Younger’s properties were located around Horse Spring Branch and Bear Swamp and according to this census his nearest neighbors were Charles Barber, Samuel Hearin [Herring], John Hearin [Herring], John Plowman, Jonathan Standley, Thomas Williamson [Williams?], Theophilus Williams, and John Williams. Whether the John Williams mentioned here in the list is John the Younger or his son John Williams III* is uncertain but as that John Williams III* owned land west of the Cashie, the man mentioned is most likely the father. The Thomas Williamson is probably a Williams as that the names were often interchangeable among those of Welsh decent.

It is not certain when Theophilus Williams married but it was certainly no later than the year 1721.

These lands were on the eastside of the Cashie River at “eastside Horse Spring Branch joining Samuel Herring, a pond, Turkey Swamp and Thomas Jones.” The deed was witnessed by Benjamin Foreman and John Williams which certainly the brother. John Williams the Younger’s son Theophilus Williams was married around 1721when he made a deed of gift of two parcels of lands.


Theophilus Williams was born circa 1693 and would have been about 28 years old when he married Christian Busby [Busbee] the daughter of Thomas Busby and Catherine Bryan. Thomas Busby relocated from Isle of Wight County were he was a farmer and Indian trader. His property in Bertie County was located next to the Tuscarora Nation Reservation and no doubt traded with them. Theophilus and Christian Williams’ first born son was named John Williams after his grandfather John Williams the Younger. He migrated to the Neuse River area with his father’s family where he married possible Abigail Creech. They were most certainly the parents of Britton Williams.



John Williams of Albemarle County, planter to Theophilus Williams of same this day April 1721 for the love and affection I bear my son 90 acres where on he now lives being part of the land I live on and 120 acres of another tract which joins the tract I live on the said lands being on eastside of Horse Spring Branch joining Samuel Herring, a pond, Turkey Swamp and Thomas Jones. Witness Benjamin Foreman and John Williams.



At the same time John Williams the Younger gave power of attorney to his neighbor John Edwards acknowledge the Deed of Gift to “my son” Theophilus Williams. The distance from Cashy to Edenton to record the deed may have been too much for John Williams as he was now nearly 50 years old. Many of his deeds after this time are recorded by Powers of Attorney assigned to others. The 1721 Tax record shows that Theophilus Williams held 915 acres of land. The two deeds shown above account for 410 of them. There are no others records that show he acquired anymore land in 1721 so Theophilus must have acquired the remaining 505 prior to that time.

He married Christian, the daughter of Thomas and Catherine Bryan Busby.  The Busby family came from Virginia possibly at the same time as the Williamses and acquired lands near the Roquist River in an area called Falling Runs. In this same area was the family of Needham Bryan who was most likely Catherine’s brother or perhaps cousin.  

Christian Busby was probably born circa 1705 in Virginia and was about 15 or 16 years old when she married 25 year old Theophilus Williams. She was the mother of at least seven known children. There were certainly more children who probably died in infancy as the mortality rate for children was high.  The known children of Theophilus were John Williams who was born circa 1722, Joseph Williams who was born circa 1725, James Williams who was born circa 1730, Esther Williams who was born circa 1735, Lewis Williams who was born circa 1738, and Feribee Williams who was born circa 1740. All of the children of Theophilus and Christian Busby Williams were born on farms near the Cashie River in the Roquist Creek area of Bertie County, North Carolina. Christian Williams' death date is unknown but it was after 1754 when she is mentioned in a deed recorded in Onslow County. 

Theophilus Williams father in law Thomas Busby was from Stafford County Virginia and had moved to Bertie County area in the early years of the 1700's. Here he had property on tributaries of the Roquist Creek called Jumping Run and Flaggy Run, which was also referred to as Flag Run; on the northside of the Morratuck River. He was in the region before 10 February 1720 when his land was was mentioned in a deed between Francis Parker “carpenter of Bertie” and John Parker “mill wright of Nansemond Virginia” being 640 acres adjoining "James Blount and Busby’s  corner". 



In the summer of 1722 on July 13, Theophilus Williams’s father-in-law Thomas Busby of “Albemarle County and Catherine my wife” sold to John Page of Albemarle County 320 acres on the northside of Morratuck on Jumping Run joining James Blount and John Williams part of a 640 acre patent granted “to me” for 16 £. The witnesses were George Williams and Thomas Browne. George Williams likely a second cousin from Theophilus great uncle Thomas Williams who died in 1693. Thomas Browne may be been his uncle who married Jane Williams his aunt or the son of John Browne. Jumping Run In the Woodville area and sometimes referred to as Flag Run Gut. On the north end of Jumping Run Creek is Dempsey Bridge(not actually a bridge, but a flat path that the water from Jumping Run ran across that had a hard bottom and would hold a horse and cart from sinking) It empties into Griffin's Mill Pond and into Flag Run Gut/Wharf.




The origin of the name is said to be due to impassable swampland for which poles were cut to lay across to provide a road bed. Only a "good" mule could make it across and then only if th driver would "jump and run along" beside him. "Jump and Run" became, over time, Jumping Run.



Later in the summer of 1720, John Williams the Younger’s neighbor Charles Barber signed Power of Attorney to John’s son in law Samuel Herring on July 11 to acknowledge a sale of 72 acres land between Barber and John Lewerton. The POA was witnessed by John’s son Theophilus Williams and Owen Daniel [O’Daniel who was the father in law of Richard Fryer. On the same day Charles Barber’s wife Elizabeth gave her Power of Attorney to Owen O’Daniel. This POA was then witnessed by Theophilus Williams and Samuel Herring. The land sold to Lewerton was on the west side of Beaver Swamp but east of the Cashie River. The three witnesses to the transaction were also Theophilus Williams, Samuel Herring, and Owen O’Daniel.


Over the next couple of days, on 13 July and 15 July 1720 Theophilus Williams and John Williams both witnessed property deeds between John Bryan and Henry Bradley Jr. and Ralph Mason and John Tuberville. Witnessing the deed of Ralph Mason along with John Williams was Benjamin Foreman Senior who had various connections with the Williams Families of Surry County, Virginia before relocating to North Carolina..


Benjamin Foreman Sr. was born circa 1681 the son of William Foreman and probably Hester Brown of Southwark Parish Surry County Virginia. He married Verity [or Verrily] thought to be a Williams and perhaps a daughter of Roger Williams. He was a witness to the will of Roger Williams of Surry County in 1706. He had at least three children William Foreman, Mary Foreman and Benjamin Foreman Jr all born in Virginia and he in the Chowan Precinct of Albemarle County by 1716 where he was shown in a Tax record as owning 370 acres. By 1722 a George Williams became Benjamin Foreman Senior’s son-in-law.

On 10 August 1720 Theophilus Williams had a patent of 235 acres at the backside of William Jones’ survey on the southside of Cassia Swamp [Cashie River] and northside of the swamp to Roquist Creek.  Theophilus' brother in law Samuel Herring received 270 acres at the same time land that was on the backside of Theophilus Williams’ survey.  His land description read that this property was on the southside of Cassia Swamp [Cashie River] and westside of the swamp to Roquist Creek on that branch that parts him from “Theop Williams” adjoining Major Robert West, Laurance Sarsen and Thomas West.


Later that fall, Theophilus Williams witnessed the will of a neighbor named Samuel Edmonds on 3 November 1720. Other witnesses were  John Williams, Edward Moore and George Eubank. John Williams could have been Theophilus' father or his brother who died in 1722. Samuel Edmonds’ will was probated in April Court 1721 in Chowan Precinct. Edmonds had married daughters and he probably was a near neighbor of Theophilus but of no relationship. Close neighbors were often called to witness wills and land transactions. The neighbor of Theophilus, George Eubank, made out his own will 2 March 1733, of which Eubank made Theophilus’ brother in law James Castellow one of his executors.


The following spring on 30 March 1721, Theophilus Williams received 200 acres in the “woods betwixt Cassia and Morrattuck” Rivers. This land was close to his father in law’s lands.  Thomas Busby on 25 October 1725 witnessed a deed for Owen O’Daniel who lived in the Jumping Run area also. O’Daniel had received a patent of 480 acres on the southside of “Cassey Swamp’ [Cashie River] as early as 10 August 1720. Thomas Busby had bought 170 acres on the east side of Cashie River from Henry Rhoades in November 1725 which was witnessed by Owen “Daniel” [O’Daniel].  



The 1721 Tax List of Chowan Precinct shows that the family of John Williams the Younger was one of the most prominent landowners in the Cashy community. Records show that from John Williams earliest patent of 320 acres in 1713 until 1721, his family had accumulated 4,010 acres or nearly 6 ¼ square miles. The family is located on Tax List number 337. There are two John Williams listed one as John Williams Jr. As that most of the records pertaining to John Williams the Younger also refer to him as John Wiliams Jr. it appears that the John Williams paying a tax of 1£: 7s: 4p on 1620 acres is John Williams III*. John Williams Jr. is listed as paying a tax of 1£: 17shillings and 9pence on 1065 acres. My guess is that the John Williams is the oldest son of John and Ann Moor Williams and because his holdings were not as developed as his father, his taxes were less even though he owned more property. John Williams III* would have been about 28 years old and probably unmarried. If he did marry his wife had to had died before 1722 without issue. Son Theophilus Williams paid a taxed of 1£: 15shillings and 3 pence on 915 acres. James Williams paid a tax of 1£: 6s: 10p on 410 acres. As that James Williams had patented this land on March 30th this tax record which had no date had to be taken after that time. Isaac Williams isn't shown as having any land as was Arthur Williams. Possible Isaac who would have been about 20 years old and Arthur was still a youth of about 15 years were still living with their parents. Others relations mentioned in the 1721 census were sons-in-law Samuel Herring and James Castellow who owned 1700 acres. Near neighbor Jonathan Standley had 300 acres.


He had acquired land or was renting prior to 28 January 1720 [1721] when a deed description of property being sold from Joseph Trowell of “Kesiah” [Cashie] in Chowan Precinct to John Harrison showed that the property was located at a “branch of reeds” and James Castellaw.


MARCH 1721


In March 1721 brothers John Williams, Theophilus Williams, and James Williams traveled to Queen Anne Town [Edenton] and on March 30th 1721 they registered several deeds for lands on the west side of the Cashie River. John Williams III* patented 640 acres “between Cassia [Cashie] and Morattuck {Roanoke], joining James Blount, a reedy pocoson, and a great swamp.” He also claimed 250 acres in “ye woods betwixt Cassia and Morattock river, joining ye Village pond, James Blount, John Williams and a Great swamp.” James Blount was a Tuscarora Indian who later became king of that nation and was a close friend to the Williams family. A deed dated 7 November 1721 shows that James Blount the Tuscarora lived near Theophilus Williams’ father-in-law Thomas Busby. “James Blount to John Yelverton 20 shillings for 211 acres at Thomas Busby headline.” Another deed dated 10 February 1723 [1724] between Francis Parker and John Parker stated the property in the transaction was by lands of James Blount and Thomas Busby.

Theop[hilus] Williams patented 200 acres also in the woods between “Cassia and Morattock” [Cashie and Roanoke Rivers]. This land would also have been on the west side of the Cashie River also and possibly near the lands of Thomas Busby. ·

James Williams patented 410 acres “on ye South side of Cassia River, joining Samuel Heron, ye Flag Branch, and ye west side of little Rocquis Swamp [Roquist Creek]” Samuel Herring was of course his brother-in-law and a near neighbor to this property was Owen O’Daniels who appears as a witness in many Williams’ property deeds. The Cashie River flows from a a easternly towards a bend north of the town of Windsor where then flows southeasternly to the Atlantic. and flows there in an wester easternly direction. His near neighbor was Owen O’Daniels. James Williams received a patent in 1721 of 410 acres on the southside of the “Cassiah River adjoining Sam Heron at Flag Branch west side of Little Rocquist Swamp

A few weeks later on 17 April 1721 his father gave him 210 acres most likely as a wedding gift. “John Williams of Albemarle County, planter, to Theophilus Williams of same for “love and affection I bear my son, 90 acres where on he now lives being part of land I live on and 120 acres of another which joins the tract I live on.”

17 April 1721 Ibid #519 p.109 John Williams of Albemarle to Theophilus Williams of same gift to my son 90 ac where he lives; also 120 ac all on Horse Spring Branch adj Samuel Hearing, Turkey Swamp & Thomas Jones. Wit. Benjamin Foreman, John Williams.

17 April 1721 Ibid #518 p.108 John Williams to John Edwards of Albemarle 17 Apr 1721
power attorney to ackn gift to my son Theophilus Williams. wit. Benjamin Foreman, John Williams. Chowan Deed #515 p.104


Theophilus Williams's eldest brother  John William made out his Last Will and Testament on 26 January 1721/2. In it he named his brothers Theophilus, James, Isaac, and Arthur Williams. He also named his nephews using the archaic term "Cousins". They were John Williams and Anthony Herring.  No executor was named which is unusual but as he was unmarried his father John Williams probably was appointed administrator. The witnesses were Theophilus' parents John and Ann Williams and Mary Emonds [Edmonds] The will was probated in May 1722. 

In the 1720's Bertie County deed records show that Theophilus Williams and his father in law Thomas Busby lived near the Cashie River surrounded by a community of neighbors. Some of these men were Henry Baker, John Blackman, James Blount, John Blunt, John Butler, John Gray, Robert Hodge, Richard Melton, John Nairn, Daniel O'Daniel,  Francis Parker, James Parker, Peter Parker, Henry Rhodes, Timothy Rial [Royal], and George Stephenson. 

[A-36 Bertie, 9 Feb 1722, Feb 1722] Thomas Rhodes and wife Mary to Jeffery Butler, being 100 acres beginning at the fork of a branch on Jumping Run Creek, then out the branch and back to Running Creek and down the said creek to begin. Note that Jumping Run is also called Flag Run and it was so named because the hard bottom was firm enough to allow horses and carts to pass over the swamp. Test: William and Thomas Jones (see green C).
[B-36 Bertie, 6 Aug 1725, Nov 1725] Henry Rhodes and wife Elizabeth to James Blount, being on the North West side of the Casey Swamp beginning at Thomas Busby’s corner on the swamp then down the swap to James Parker’s corner then up his line to Busby’s then down his line to begin. Test: John Duffiel, Thos Benten (see green E).

[B-37 Bertie, Nov 1725] Henry Rhodes to Thomas Busby, being 170 acres on the east side of the Cashie Swamp beginning at the main swamp then a line of marked trees to the side line then to the first station then then to the swamp. Wit: Owen Daniel, James Murray (see green E).

[B-40 Bertie, Nov 1725] Henry Rhodes to Peter Parker, lying on a branch of Cashie Swamp. Running along a line of marked trees between Henry Rhodes and Thomas Busby then down a row of marked trees to the swamp then down the swamp to begin. Wit: James Murry, Thomas Busby


John Nairn on 5 April 1720 acquired 300 acres on the northside of Morratuck River adjoin John Williams on Flaggy Run. He sold to Owen “McDaniel” this property on 20 April 1725 with John Butler and James Cannaday acting as witnesses. The 1725 description stated that this  property adjoined the lands of Thomas Busby. Evidently Daniel O'Daniel was also known as "McDaniel". O'Daniel sold this land at "Jumping Run and Flagg Run"  in 1736 to Edward Toole. A deed dated 1729 showed that John Butler deeded property to Owen O’Daniel “adjoining John Nairn at Flagg Run and Thomas Busby”.  John Butler was the father of O'Daniel's son in law Jethro Butler.  

On 8 November 1725 Thomas Busby witnessed a deed of John Page and his wife Hannah “Hanner” who lived on Horse Pasture Creek near Theophilus Williams father John Williams the Younger.  John  and Hannah Page were the parents of John Page Jr who was Thomas Busby's son in law. 

Robert Hodge was the father in law of Theophilus’ brother Isaac Williams who married Martha Hodge.  Robert Hodges came to North Carolina from the Upper Parish of Isle of Wight County, Virginia. On 7 July 1725 he sold to John Dunkley 250 acres on the southside of Blackwater River adjoining Sarah Branch Davis’ lands in the Isle of Wight. This deed was witnessed by Theophilus Williams’ brother Nicholas Williams. Robert was in Bertie County in 1726 when James Williams sold him 380 acres on Roquist Creek  and the Flagg Branch adjoining Henry Overstreet. The witness was .Theophilus Williams. 



In 1726 James Williams sold to Robert Hog (Hodges) 380 acres on Rocquis Creek and the Flagg [Flaggy] branch lands adjoin Henry Overstreet. The witness to this deed was his brother Theophilus Williams and Richard Washington.

In a deed dated 7 March 1726/7 Robert "Hodges" bought from William Gray property on the northeast side of Roquist Creek adjoining the properties of James Williams and Richard "Milton". Witnesses to this transaction were John Gray and Joseph Moore. 



8 August 1727 John Gray sold to Theophilus Williams for 80 £ 7 shillings a tract of land containing 640 acres at Falling Run from William Gray’s corner to south west to John Williams Corner. Witnesses were John Castellaw and Samuel Williams August Court




4 March 1727 [1728] Theophilus Williams to Joseph Ballard of Nansemond County Virginia 200 acres for 12£. Witnesess Needham Bryan and Elias Hughes [Hodges?]



 
On 2 August 1728 George Stephenson sold 200 acres to Timothy Rial on the northside of Flaggy Run. The property was adjoining Henry Baker, John Butler, and Samuel Herring. The witnesses were William Daniel and  John Blackman. A year later on 11 August 1729 John Butler sold to Owen "McDaniel" land adjoining John Nairn at Flaggy Run on "Busbys line."


Other men with families who lived in the Flagg or Flagg Run area who also moved later to the New and Neuse Rivers area of Onslow County were Needham Bryan, Joseph Moore, Joseph Blackman, and Samuel Herring. These men were relatives as well as neighbors and they or their offspring would join Theophilus Williams in the migration south of Bertie families. 


Of these men Needham Bryan was probably the most prominent. He may have been Theophilus wife's uncle. He was  the grandfather of Theophilus Williams’ orphaned nephew and nieces through his brother James. Needham was married three times and died in Society Parish in Bertie County. He was very active in county and state affairs and served many years as chairman of the court of Pleas and Quarter Session and was justice of the peace in 1732, 1739, and 1745. He was also was sheriff and commissioner for Bertie County  in 1745. From 1750-59 he represented Bertie in the colonial assembly at New Bern and in 1729-30 was a church warden for Society Parish. 


On 3 April 1721 Needham Bryan had patented 640 acres of land in Bertie County on the Moratuck River. Needham and his wife Anne sold this grant to John Hart on 12 November 1723. The  property was on the northeast side of the “Morrattacky River” adjoining Henry Jones and Samuel “Meriet”. In 1724 Needham Bryan witnesses a deed between Theophilus’ brother James Williams, who was also Needham’s son in law,  to Theophilus’ cousin Joseph Moore. The property was located in “Little Roquess Swamp” [Roquist Creek] adjoining Theophilus’ brother in law Samuel Herring's property. 


On 7 May 1726 Needham  purchased a 210 acre farm called Snowfield plantation. Needham bought the farm from William Gray. This Plantation was in woods "betwix" Cashay & Morrattock in the Flint Pocoson [Swamp] and crossed Falling Run. He and his three wives are buried at this Snowfield plantation.


7 May 1726 John Williams and wife Anne sold to John Moore 150 acres adjoining Jonathan Standley for 24£. This deed was witnessed by Theophilus Williams and Samuel Williams. John and Ann Moor Williams gave power of Attorney to Stephen Wlliams to acknowledge the sale of the 150 acres to John Moore. Both Theophilus and his brother James Williams were witnesses and called “jurats” which just meant they swore to the validity of the deed. John Moore could have been John Williams’ brother in law or his wife’s nephew. Stephen Williams was John Williams the Younger’s nephew son of his brother Williams.



On May 7, 1726 a Deed between Sarah Rose and Robert Bell was witnessed by Theophilus Williams and his brother James Williams who testified at the May Court of 1726. In a Deed dated the same time Sarah Rose gave Power of Attorney to Stephen Williams to handle the sale of the 640 acres to “Robert Bell, Planter”. This deed was also witnessed by Theophilus Williams and James Williams.



In 1726 James Williams sold to Robert Hog (Hodges) 380 acres on Rocquis Creek and the Flagg [Flaggy] branch lands adjoin Henry Overstreet. The witness to this deed was his brother Theophilus Williams and Richard Washington.



On 8 Aug 1727 Theophilus Williams bought 640 acres, a square mile, on the north side of Falling Run on Rocquist Swamp [Roquist Creek] in west Bertie County which flowed southeast into Cashie River. He paid 80 £ 7 shillings for this land that was in Bertie County NC adjoining William Gray and his father John Williams. William Gray was an heir of George Eubank and John Williams would have been Theophilus’ father as that his brother John Williams had died in 1722.  At the same time Theophilus bought from John Gray 640 acres on the eastside of Falling Run adjoining the properties of William Grat and John Williams. The witnesses were James Castellow and Samuel Williams.  



8 August 1727 John Gray sold to Theophilus Williams for 80 £ 7 shillings a tract of land containing 640 acres at Falling Run from William Gray’s corner to south west to John Williams Corner. Witnesses were John Castellaw and Samuel Williams August Court



Needham Bryan witnessed a deed dated 10 March 1728 between George Stephenson and Joseph ‘Blackmon”. This property was on the northside of the Morratuck River adjoining lands of Theophilus Williams and his father John Williams. 


On 6 August 1728 Thomas Busby deeded the 170 acres on east side of Cashie Swamp that he had bought from Henry Rhodes to his “son-n-law” John Page Jr., “for love and affection”. John Page Junior had married Elizabeth Busby in 1728 and thus was a brother in law of Theophilus Williams.

Theophilus Williams sold to Joseph Ballard 200 acres on 4 March 1728/1729 and a week later on 10 March 1728/29 another deed showed that he and his father John Williams had lands adjoining George Stephenson, Joseph Blackmon on the north side Morattuck River and “Gray's Marsh”. 

4 March 1727 [1728] Theophilus Williams to Joseph Ballard of Nansemond County Virginia 200 acres for 12£. Witnesess Needham Bryan and Elias Hughes [Hodges?]


By 1730, Theophilus was about 35 years old and was large property owner with a wife and several small children.  North Carolina had become a Royal Colony in 1729 ruled by the government of King George II. After this time it was easier to obtain land patents further south in Craven County which contained New Bern the capital of the colony. Out of Craven County was formed New Hanover County, Onslow County, Johnston County, and Duplin County.



On 11 Feb 1733 Timothy “Ryall” sold to Needham Bryan property on the northside of Flaggy Run adjoining John Harrell and Joseph Moore.


Theophilus Williams witnessed the will of John Glishon on 20 September 1734 along with Lazzrus Benton and Thomas Jones. Glishon lived in the Runeroy Marshes area of Bertie Precinct. Two years later he witnessed the will of Henry Jarnigin on 9 May 1736.

The Last Will and Testament of Theophilus Williams brother James of "Bertie Precinct" was written 21 August 1736. In it he named his wife Elizabeth and son Ezekiel Williams and daughters "Feribe" and Jerusha Williams. He also stated  that his property was to be divided between his children "except my Wife should be with child."  Elizabeth was pregnant and had a child named Barbara after James' death. He named his wife "executrix" and his brothers Theophilus Williams and Isaac Williams executors. The will was probated in the February Court in1737. 



On 10 August 1730 Theophilus sold to his youngest brother 200 acres on the east side of Horse Swamp and Turkey Swamp to the Horse Spring Branch lands adjoining Samuel Herring. Horse Swamp was just on the left of the communities of Hoggard Mill and Greens Crossroad the original home of John and Ann Moore Williams. He sold this property for 100 pounds with the deed being witnessed by Isaac Williams, William Daniel and William Eason.



8 December 1735 Isaac Williams had married Martha Hodges, the daughter of Robert Hodges and Ann Branch. In a deed dated 8 December 1735 Isaac Williams is listed with wife Martha. He sold lands to Thomas Bond and the deed witnesses were Theophilus Williams and John Williams. Isaac Williams’ brother in law was Joseph Moore who married Ann a daughter of Robert Hodges also.

1736

After Theophilus’ brother James Williams died in 1737, his widow Elizabeth Bryan Williams remarried a man named Henry King. In 1738 King wanted to administer the estate of James Williams “deceased” but Theophilus Williams objected as he was the executor of the estate. He was worried that the legacy of his nephew and nieces Feribe Williams, Jerusha Williams, Ezekiel Williams and Barbara Williams  would be encumbered. In 1740 Theophilus Williams was appointed guardian to the minor orphans of his brother James Williams. He put up £300 money for security. His nieces Jerusha later married Jesse Jernigan and Barbara married Constantine Whitfield. His nephew Ezekiel Williams would later relocate to  Granville County, [Barnwell County] South Carolina and St. George Parish, [Burke County] Georgia. 

That same year on 19 November 1736 John Blackman died intestate without a will and his son Bennett Blackman and Theophilus Williams were appointed executors by the probate court. Bennett Blackman was in Johnston County, North Carolina by 1751.

On 7 February 1737/8 the Bertie court bound “Stephen Blackman, orphan of John Blackman of 14 years and 3 months [1724]” over to Theophilus Williams until “21 years old to learn to “read current write “leigable [legible] and cipher and to learn him the art of mastery of a cooper [barrel maker] and to give him 100 acres of land”.  Stephen Blackman was born 26 December 1724 and followed Theophilus Williams south to Onslow and Duplin County. He married Ann Snell and had 15 children. Stephen was located in the 1790 Census of Sampson County, North Carolina with 1 Free White Male 16 and older, 1 Free white male under 16, 3 free white females including heads of families and 2 slaves. He fought in the American Revolution from 17th August 1781 to 15th July 1783. He resided in Wilmington District, North Carolina during the Revolution. 

On 22 January 1738/9, Theophilus’ mother in law, Catherine Bryan Busby, made out her will which was probated in the February Court of Bertie County. Witnesses to her will were Needham Bryan, H. Bates and Susan Bates. In her will she named Theophilus Williams as her executor.  Catherine Busby left her  "plantation being on the North side of "Ronoake River" to Theophilus Williams. She left to her minor grandson Jesse Page, the son of John Page Jr and Elizabeth,  one cow and calf. She also mentioned Theophilus Williams' daughter Hester [Esther] Williams in her will. 


1 March 1738 Theoph Williams, 375 acre , March 1st, 1738, 11 yrs 25 ds at 4£, 8:6:-



In 1738 Theophilus Williams went to Craven County to establish residency to receive land patents. Records in Bertie County show that Theophilus Williams was going back and forth between Craven County and Bertie County. While Theophilus’ properties in Craven County were about 95 miles south of those in Bertie County, he went back and forth between the two places as that records in Bertie County show that he still had business there. 

On 1 March 1738/9 Theophilus Williams was back in Craven County where he received a patent of  187 acres on the north side of the Neuse River in what was then Craven County, North Carolina. Today this land is in Johnston County.


When Theophilus Williams was 40 years old his father in law Thomas Busby was said to have died in 1735 but an inventory of his estate was not recorded until May 1739 by Theophilus Williams who was his executor. Thomas Busby may have died intestate without a will.


 “A True and Perfect Inventory of all and Singular the Goods & Chattles of Thomas Busby late of Bertie County in the Province of North Carolina as come to my hands or knowledge.” Thomas Busby’s personal estate consisted of “2 Negroes, 31 head of Cattle, 6 head of horses and mares, 2 feather beds and furniture, 3 iron pots, 1 iron skillet, 2 frying pans, 1 small brass kettle, 6 “puter” [pewter] dishes, 3 “basons” [basins], 6 plates, 13 spoons, 1 pare spoon “mould” [mold], 1 pare bullet “moulds”, 1 skinner, 1 grater & chest, 2 trunks, 6 chears [chairs], 9 bottles, 2 juggs, 14 wooden plats [plates], 2 bowls, 1 grindstone, 1 pare millstones, 2 pare flesh forks, 2 pare pot hooks, 1 candlestick, 1 box iron and heaters, 8 earthen vessels, 2 tubs, 2 pales [pails], 2 pigeons [iron hooks], 1 barrel, 2 spinning wheels, 1 pare buhens?, 2 pare of cards, 2 pounds, 1 shilling & 10 pence Cash, 6 hoes, 2 axes, 1 tomahawk, 1 fish gigg, 1 bridle and saddle, 5 books, 1 sugar box and some other very small triffels, 1 razor, 1 reep hook, 3 locks, 2 sifters”


On 17 May 1739, Theophilus and his wife “Christian” sold to Thomas Barker, a tract of 400 acres that originally granted to John Williams “Junior” and part of a tract granted to Theophilus Pugh at Village Swamp adjoining Thomas Bond at Falling Run.

Theophilus Williams appeared numerous times in the deed books of Bertie County until the early 1740’s when he moved to Onslow County, North Carolina where his estate records there were destroyed during a hurricane. In a deed between Pedegrove Salsberry of "Society Parish" and Adam Rabey in Bertie County dated 19 April 1740 Theophilus Williams was mentioned as having adjoining lands on the northside of the Roanoke River. Other neighbors were Needham Bryan, Matthew Turner, Isaac Harrell, and Caleph Spivey. 


Theophilus Williams and his relatives and neighbors may have relocated from Bertie County because by the mid 18th century it was one of the most densely populated counties in North Carolina  nd the land had been over worked for nearly thirty-five years. The increase in population was largely due to the numbers of African-American slaves brought into the county. By the early 1700's slaves were imported directly into Bertie County from West Africa and by the 1740's made up 25 percent of the population.  These enslaved people were mostly owned by large plantations with thousands of acres.  Even with eleven slaves, Theophilus Williams was not able to compete with the aristocratic planter class whose wealth was derived from slave labor. 

In March 1742 when Theophilus Williams sold his 500 acre plantation in Bertie County to Jethro Butler, Needham Bryan was one of the witnesses to the deed. 

In the Bertie County, North Carolina Court Minutes of 11 May 1742 show that Theophilus Williams, “on oath declared his right” and listed the members of his household. Those still living in his household were “Theophilus, Christian, Joseph, James, Esther, Lewis and Feribee Williams”. His slaves included in his household were listed as Toney, Boston, Pompey, Rose, Phillis, Patt, Jenny, Jupiter, Silva, Chloe, Pegg were.  Not mentioned as being in his household was his eldest son John Williams who may have already been married or at least relocated to the Neuse River area of New Hanover County a section that later became Duplin.


Onslow County was established in 1731 however the colonial assembly however protested the setting up of the new precinct, and they did not provide their approval until 1734 as an act of Royal Governor Burrington. Onslow delegates were not seated until a special Act was passed by the Assembly on March 2, 1735, which "confirmed and established" the precinct of Onslow. Later on March 8, 1738/9 all of North Carolina's precincts were renamed as counties.


In 1741, the colonial General Assembly authorized the establishment of the Onslow county seat at old Town Point, "to be known as Johnston" in honor of Governor Gabriel Johnston. The site chosen for court to be held was "at the court house on New River". The selection of the New River location for the court house was because the major activity within the county has historically been centered around the river and its numerous creeks and tributaries. During the colonial period, Onslow’s economy was centered around agriculture, forest products, and fishing. Indian corn and peas were the principal crops of the county, and many farmers raised livestock. The first settlers began to make their homes in the area found towering long leaf pine evergreens which provided the first major cash crop in the area, turpentine. Turpentine provided by the long leaf pine was used to produce naval stores for the ship-building industry, important to the colonies and England. These stands of timber also produced lumber for the area. Gristmills and less numerous sawmills constituted Onslow’s beginning manufacturing industry. 

Recorded in Onslow County, North Carolina deeds is a record dated 10 July 1742 wherein James Green sold lands to “Theophilus Williams of Bertie County”. Theophilus bought 300 acres from Green for £90. The property was on the south west side of the south west branch of “New River between said Green and Henry Rhodes being part of a tract granted to Stephen Williams who transferred to John Williams  and from him to James Green.” The witnesses to the deed were Job Brook and Stephen Williams.  Henry Rhodes had been a neighbor of Theophilus Williams from deeds recorded in the 1720's in Bertie. Stephen Williams was the grandson of Lewis Williams of Catherine Creek, Chowan County. He died 1751 when his will was probated 3 July 1751 in New Hanover County.  


Later that same year on 10 September 1742, Theophilus Williams was back in Bertie County where he sold to Jethro Butler 500 acres for £25 to be laid out according to the will of Thomas Busby northeast side of Morattuck River and Beaverdam Branch lands adjoining Robert Melton. The witnesses were Needham Bryan, John Campbell, and Stephen Blackman.  Jethro Butler was the son in law of Owen McDaniel [O’Daniel] and his wife Elinor. Owen made out his will 7 February 1742 which was recorded in Chowan County, North Carolina. Later Jethro remarried Elizabeth Jernigin. He may have been a mixed race Tuscarora Indian.   Jethro Butler lived at Flaggy Run along with John Harrell before he relocated to the Neuse River area with many other Bertie County residents. He was in Johnston County, North Carolina when on 16 December 1758 Edward Ingram of Johnston Co. sold to him 100 acres on southside of Nuese River. One of the witnesses was Isaac Williams, Theophilus’ brother.


Two weeks later on 24 September 1742, also while in Bertie County Theophilus and Christian Williams sold to Theophilus Pugh of Nansemond County, Virginia, for £140, 240 acres on the north side of Falling Run adjoining Needham Bryan, Thomas Bond, Thomas Barker, part of a patent granted Theophilus Williams for 640 acres on August 8, 1728 . Samuel Williams and Thomas Castellow were witnesses to the land transfer. Thomas Castellow was Theophilus’ nephew and Samuel Williams was most likely one of Theophilus' many cousins.

A record in the newly formed Onslow County showed that on 18 December 1742 “Stephen Williams, planter” sold to John Williams for five shillings 640 acres southside of the Southwest branch. The small sum paid for the 640 acres indicates that there may have been a relationship of some type between the two men and there might now be the son of Theophilus..

Needham’s name sake known as "Needham Bryan II" was probably preparing to leave Bertie County  in 1744 when Needham Senior sold off two of his farms. On the same day 8 May 1744 Needham Bryan and  “wife Susanah” Harrell of “Society Parish” sold their 100 acre farm  to William Vann and another 100 acres to Barnaby “Bryant”. Both of these properties were on the northside of Flaggy Run adjoining property of John Harrell.

On 12 March 1745/6, Theophilus Williams sold part of his land from his 1739 grant to his son John Williams. This property was south of the Neuse River above Mill Creek west of Burnt Marsh. Mill Creek is a major tributary to the Neuse River, and converges with the river in the Lowgrounds in southeastern Johnston County. The area is home to muskrats, turtles, wood ducks, and several unique river birds as well as deer, bobcat, black bear and other large mammals.  The forests provide nesting habitats for dozens of songbirds, including the Swainson’s warbler and the significantly rare Mississippi Kite.

John Williams later sold this property to Robert Lee on 31 March 1752 who in turn sold it to his uncle Isaac Williams in 1766. Witnesses to the 1766 transaction was Jethro Butler, John Ingram, and John Ingram. In 1766 this Robert Lee was selling off his properties in preparation for a move to South Carolina. He sold to Isaac Williams these lands on southside of Neuse River adjoining Theophilus Williams line, southside of Briery Marsh, John Lee’s second corner pine, from a grant to John Blackman made 4 April 1750. By 1768 Robert Lee was established in Granville County, South Carolina in an area that became Barnwell District.


Theophilus Williams two days later on 14 March 1745/6 Theophilus sold some of this land on the southside of the Neuse River at Mill creek in New Hanover County to his son Joseph Williams who was probably getting ready to marry. Joseph Williams married Mary Hicks on 8 August 1746 in Onslow County.  He later was elected sheriff for Duplin County after it was formed.


By 1746 when Theophilus Williams was over fifty years old and he was called “of Onslow County” when he gave up rights to property in Craven County to he heirs of Needham Bryan. The land would eventually be part of Johnston County. This showed that there was a kinship relationship between the Theophilus Williams and Needham Bryan. As that Theophilus Williams was the legal guardian of Needham Bryan’s grandchildren, this document could have pertained to that.  The document was dated “18 March 1745” in the old style calendar.

"To all people to whom these presents shall come Greeting Know ye that I Theophilus Williams of Onslow County in the Province of North Carolina for and in consideration of thirty pounds good and lawful money of the Province aforesaid to me in hand paid before the ensealing will and truly by Needham Bryan of the County of Craven and province aforesaid the receipt whereof I do hereby acknowledge myself therewith satisfied contented and paid and of every part and parcel thereof do exonerate and acquit and discharge the said Needham Bryan his heirs, Exe, Adm forever by these presents do freely and clearly and have bargained and sold aliened conveyed and consigned and by these presents do freely fully and absolutely give grant bargain and alien Convey consign unto him the said Needham Bryan his heirs and assigns forever one Plantation or tract of land lying and being in the County and province aforesaid on the north side of Neuse river beginning at a red oak at the mouth of the cursell branch running up the branch to a pine in the back line thence up the line to a hickory standing on the river bank thence down the various courses of the river to the first station containing according to estimation one hundred and eighty seven and a half acres it being the upper part of a tract of land taken up by the aforesaid Theophilus Williams as appears by a Patent bearing date the first day of March seventeen hundred and thirty eight. To Have and to Hold the said granted premises with all the appurtenances privileges commodities to the same belonging or any wise appertaining to him the said Needham Bryan his Heirs and assigns forever to his and their own purpose use and benefit and behoof forever and I the said Theophilus Williams for me my heirs Exe Adm do covenant promise and grant to and with the said Needham Bryan his heirs and assigns that before the ensealing hereof I am the true sole and lawful owner of the above bargained premises and am lawfully seized and possessed of the same in my own proper right by Patent bearing date as above mentioned as a good perfect and absolute estate of inheritance in fee simple and have in myself full power and lawful authority to grant bargain and sell convey and confirm the said bargained premises in manner as above said and that the said Needham Bryan his heirs and assigns shall and may from time to time and at all times from hereafter by force and virtue of these presents lawfully peaceably and quietly have hold use occupy possess and enjoy the said devised and bargained premises and appurtenances freely and clearly acquitted exonerated and discharged of and from all manner of form and other gifts grants bargains sales leases mortgages wills entails jointures dowers judgements executions encumbrances and extents and furthermore I the said Theophilus Williams for myself my heirs Exe Adm do covenant the above devised premises to him the said Needham Bryan his heirs and assigns against the lawful claim of any person or persons whatsoever to warrant secure and defend As witness my hand and seal this 18th day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty four/five

Signed Sealed and delivered in presence of Theophilus Williams Seal. Witnesses were James Stallings and Theophilus's son Joseph Williams.


In the fall Theophilus Williams on 22 November 1746 received a patent of 150 acres on Moore Creek in New Hanover County and agreed to pay four shillings yearly to King George II. At the same time John Williams received 400 acres on both sides of the "Cohera River"  in New Hanover for four shilling paid yearly to King George II. 

The Great Coharie Creek today begins in northern Sampson County and flows south, passing a few miles west of the town of Clinton. There it adds Little Coharie Creek, and 15 miles south of Clinton, it joins Six Runs Creek to form the Black River. Great Coharie Creek is swampy in its headwaters, as are most Sampson County rivers.


On 13 March 1746/7 Theophilus Williams's father in Bertie made his Last Will and Testament in which he bequeath Theophilis an African American man named Jack.  He called Theophilus "my well beloved son" and Jack was called "Negro fellow Jack". Theophilus was only to have the use of Jack after the death of his mother. "Negro fellow Jack only reserving his labor to my well beloved wife during his 'widerhood' then to him and his heirs forever."  Others named were his "wife Ann", "Daughter Anne Herring"; "son Isaac Williams"; "Daughter Sara Castelaw"; "Daughter Mary Herring"; "Son Arthur Williams"; "grandson John Williams"; and "Theophilus Williams"; "Grandchildren Farabe Williams, Ezekell Williams, Jerusha Williams, Barbara Williams". As that his father lived another decade when the will was finally proved in October Court 1757 it is not known whether the provision of the will was still valid and that he was able to inherit Jack.

In a Bertie County deed dated 27 September 1749, Jonathan Melton "of Onslow County" sold to John Harrill  for 6 £ 640 acres on the north side Roanoke River but was formerly called Chowan precinct. The land was part of a patent given to Richard Melton 6 Apr 1722 adjoining Geo Williams, Benjamin Foreman. The witnesses were John Cooper and William Barber. This deed showed that many of Theophilus Williams former Bertie County neighbors had also migrated to better lands in Onslow County.

In 1750 Theophilus Williams was about 55 years old when he was recorded in a 1750 Quit Rents Dobbs County. "Quit Rent" is a term that was used in Colonial America to refer to a property tax, which was assessed by the Crown. The local county sheriff collected it, and it was sent to the Governor for distribution and administration. It was paid in cash or tobacco. It was one of the "Taxation Without Representation" issues leading to the Revolution, after wards which it was abolished.

The 1750 Quit Rent record showed that Theophilus Williams owned 375 acres that was acquired as a patent on March 1 1738/9 on which he paid £4. The record said he last paid a quit rent 11 years and 25 days ago.


In Onslow County, Samuel Moor [Moore] “of New River” made his will on 11 October 1750 which was probated 2 April 1751. His executors were his brother “Obadiah Moor” and Theophilus Williams. Samuel Moore was most likely a cousin of Theophilus. Samuel Moore lived in New Hanover County, North Carolina in a part that eventually became Duplin County.

Needham Bryan of “Bertie County” on 7 October 1751 bought land from a Moses Tiler of Saint Gabriels Parish in Duplin County a “Tract of land situated lying and being in Duplin County containing Two hundred acres be the same more or less” on the “Southside of Coherey”.  This was part of a patent Moses Tiler received 7 October 1749.  Witnesses were Theophilus Williams’ nephew John Herring, John Green, and William Bryan who was a son of Needham Bryan. Needham Bryan of "Bertie" sold this land  later to William Butler on 1 March 1768 land "on the south side of Great Coheary. This land was part of a tract of 400 acres granted to Moses Tylar by patent dated 7 October 1749 and conveyed from Moses Tylar to the said Needham Bryan by deed dated 7 October 1751. Witnesses were William Bryan and Robert Butler. The deed was registered 10 Nov. 1769.  Theophilus Williams' son John Williams lived on land near the "Great Coheary" at the same time.

In 1752 the British Empire adopted the modern calendar with the new year beginning on January 1st. To make up for decencies the calendar dropped the dates 3–13 September to transition to the Gregorian calendar.  So the dates went from September 2nd to September 14th.  During this transition, in September 1752, a terrible hurricane struck the Onslow County barrier islands, further dredged the New River Inlet, and blew Johnston, the county seat right off the map. The hurricane wreaked havoc on the lives of the colonists in Onslow County including Theophilus Williams and his relatives and friends. Records that might have tied Theophilus Williams to John Williams may have been swept away with Onslow’s county seat. The destroyed courthouse contained records like deeds, tax documents, and wills. Therefore, no one could prove land ownership, collect taxes, or probate deceased persons’ wills. The loss of these records were devastating. The storm caused a lot of destruction to primary sources like government documents used by genealogists and historians.

 As in many hurricanes, the crops, timber, and livestock of  the area’s residents was strewn about Onslow County and washed into the Onslow Bay. While there are no personal accounts of this hurricane of 1752, legal records tell about an interruption in normal activities. The county’s business had virtually stopped.  The first order of business for the Onslow County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of spring 1753 was to address the “loss of records from the destroy’d courthouse from the violent storm of September last.” Residents eventually petitioned the Colonial Assembly meeting in New Bern to replace the records. New Bern was the provincial capital of the colony at the time. This petition was eventually codified into law as “An Act to relieve such persons that have, or may suffer, by the loss of the Records in Onslow County.”

On 9 October 1755, three years after the hurricane, the Colonial Assembly passed another bill to help the residents “Appoint a place for Erecting the new Court House & Prison in the County of Onslow and other Purposes therein mentioned” Since 1903 such Colonial Assembly records have been kept in the State Archives.  

Construction began on the new Onslow County courthouse in 1757. This time, it was located farther inland, near Wantland’s Ferry, later known as Snead’s Ferry. The original courthouse at Johnston had been completed only a year before the hurricane of September 1752.

When records resumed in Onslow County, on 26 February 1754 Theophilus was shown adding land to his properties from the heirs of Thomas Parker, Elizabeth Parker sold to Theophilus Williams a parcel of 28 acres on the south side of southwest branch of New River at Theophilus Williams’ corner and Thomas Parker “deceased” line. The purchase price was  £6 and 12 shillings. A month later on 24 March 1754 also in Onslow County, Theophilus Williams and “wife Christian of New River” sold to Joseph Moore lands in Bertie County lands on Rocquiss Swamp adjoining Anthony Herring.  Joseph Moore was most likely Theophilus’ cousin or the son of his cousin and Anthony Herring was the nephew of Theophilus Williams.  Within the year Anthony Herring had moved from Bertie County. In a deed dated 6 November 1754 Anthony Herring of “Johnston County” sold  to Joseph Moore Jr. of Edgecomb County 270 acres on Rocquiss Swamp adjoining Theophilus Williams’ lands. Evidently Theophilus Williams still owned lands in parts of Bertie County that became part of Edgecomb County in 1741. The witnesses to the transaction were  Bridget Herring and Sarah Herring.

Also by 1754 when records resumed, John Royall was shown as residing on the northwest branch of New River in Onslow County. He was the brother of Samuel Royal who married Esther Williams, Theophilus Williams’ daughter.

John and Samuel Royal were the sons of Charles Royal and Sarah Powell.  Charles Royal is first noted in Onslow County in 1737 where he purchased 640 acres and also received several land grants. He went before the Assembly at New Bern and asked for grants in New Hanover and Duplin Counties, receiving 480 acres in the former and 420 acres in the latter. Charles died in 1756, leaving a Will which is in the North Carolina  State Archives in Raleigh. Primogeniture was still practiced at that time and so his eldest son Arthur fell heir to the bulk of his father's estate. On 13 June 1756 Arthur Royal, the eldest son and heir of Charles Royal, sold to Samuel Royal for 100 pounds, 200 acres on Southwest of the Northwest Branch of the New River at John Williams corner. Other neighbors were William Williams, Jr., James Dawson, Stephen Williams,  and Joseph Brock's lines, "which is part of 640 acres purchased by Charles Royal of Samuel Williams, dec'd., and whereon Charles Royal lately dwelt."

There were eight people entitled to take land on arrival the Royals arrival in Onslow County. They were Charles, and his wife Sarah, and the following children; Sarah Royal born circa 1723 wife of Robert Nixon, Arthur Royal born circa 1725 and died 1 Jul 1798. He married Anna Baill, William Royal born circa 1727 and died 1794,  Samuel Royal born circa 1729 and died before 1791. He married 1st 8 March 1759 Esther Williams, and 2nd 27 Mar 1774 in Effingham Co., GA., Verlinda Godbee, widow of Henry Godbee, John Royal born circa 1731 and d before 1774. He married 1758 in Georgia Mary Ann, and Thomas Royal born circa 1733 and died in Dooly County, Georgia.

On 1 June 1756 in Onslow County Mary Evans,  a married daughter of Thomas Parker sold to Theophilus’ son  Lewis Williams a parcel of 28 acres “on south side of southwest branch of New River and on the creek which divides Theophilus Williams and Thomas Parker deceased who acquired the 140 acres 6 Jan 1744. The property was sold for for £6 and Theophilus Williams was a witness to the deed.

Two weeks later on 13 June 1756 and recorded in Onslow County, Arthur Ryall [Royall] the eldest son of Charles Ryall sold to "Samuel Ryall" 200 acres on southwest side of the Northwest branch at John Williams corner, purchased from Samuel Williams deceased for for £100 lbs. This John Williams is most likely the son of Theophilus. By 1759 Samuel Royal had moved to Ebenezer in St. George Parish, Georgia where he married Esther Williams the daughter of Theophilus Williams.  Esther Williams was married to Samuel Royall on 8 May 1759 in the town of Ebenezer, now in Effingham County, Georgia.  

Theophilus Williams on 26 June 1756, nearly two weeks afterwards ,is shown to be located in Onslow County near John Williams who lived on southwest branch of New River at Mashburns Great Branch. This John Williams was probably his eldest son who would move to the Pee Dee River area of South Carolina before removing to St. George Parish in Georgia.

In the fall on 4 October 1756 in Onslow County, Theophilus Williams sold to his son Lewis Williams 300 acres on southwest side of southwest branch of New River for £90 lbs. The property was located on land first granted to Stephen Williams who sold it to James Green who in turn sold it to Theophilus. The following year on 19 November 1757 Lewis Williams purchased from John Bassett and his wife Zilpha, an heir of Thomas Parker, a parcel of 28 acres of Thomas Parker’s land on the southside of southwest of New River at Parker Branch. The property was sold for £6 13 shillings and 4 pence. The witnesses were Theophilus and Solomon Williams.  This Solomon Williams was more than likely the son of Samuel Williams whose will was probated in the February Court in 1754 in Edgecombe County.

The last record shown for Theophilus Williams, that showed him in Onslow County, was dated 24 September 1760, when he was probably near 65 years old. He and his son Lewis Williams witnessed a deed for Joshua Johnston. Later on 1 October 1760 in Onslow County Lewis Williams and his wife Ann Mary sold to William Wilkins of Halifax County, North Carolina 140 acres bought from the heirs of Thomas Parker; Sarah Messer, Elizabeth Parker, Mary Parker, Zelpha Bassett, and Amy Parker for for £50.

This was probably in preparation for a move from Onslow County to Duplin County where Theophilus Williams’ lands are mentioned as being south of the Neuse River near Robert Lee’s grant which was on the south side of the Neuse adjoining Richard Ingram and the “Great Marsh.”  

In July 1762, William Campbell of “Duplin County” sold to Robert Lee of “Johnston County” lands on the southside of the Neuse River adjoining Rountree's line and Theophilus Williams’ line. The Witnesses “By oath” were Isaac Williams who was the brother of Theophilus Williams, Jethro Butler, and Francis Harrell old neighbors from Bertie County. Robert Lee later sold this land back to William Campbell with Isaac Williams and James Watson as witnesses. The Chain Bearers for surveying the land were Francis Harrell and William Campbell.

On 2 March 1763 Theophilus Williams' nephew Ezekiel Williams had received a patent of 100 acres on the Savannah River Swamp about the mouth of Steel Creek in Granville County [Barnwell District], South Carolina.  His cousin, Theophilus Williams' son John Williams would eventually also settle in Granville.

A 1763 land discription in Dupblin County stated that Robert Lee’s lands were on the southside of the Neuse River on a branch of Mill Creek. In a deed record dated 15 October 1764 his lands were recorded as on the Neuse River adjacent William Campbell and Richard Ingram’s properties. On this same date 15 October 1764 William Campbell sold to Richard Ingram of Johnston County land, except a 10 foot grave parcel of his child on south side of Neuse River adjoining Theophilus Williams property which adjoined John Lee.

This William Campbell was born circa 1735 in Scotland and died 1 July 1823 in Barnwell District South Carolina. He may have been married to a Lee. William Campbell had lands by 1760 on Briar Creek in St. George Parish, Halifax District, Georgia. Theophilus Williams’ son in law Samuel Royal was also in the same parish in Georgia in 1759.  In 1763 Campbell was back in Duplin County where he bought 150 acres from Robert Lee of Johnston County and in July 1764 he sold lands to John Ingram in Johnston County.  At this time he probably moved back to the Halifax District in Georgia where

On 13 October 1773 a deed showed William Campbell had lands on Rocky Creek and Briar Creek at “Lee’s Old Place” located on waters of Savannah in St. George Parish.  A census showed at the time he had a wife, a 5 year old son [1768], 3 year old son [1770] and was granted 250 acres.

William Campbell’s children married into Barnwell District, South Carolina families. His son Alexander Campbell born circa 1768 and died circa 1807 had one daughter Catherine Blanche Campbell. She was born 1796 in South Carolina and married Richard Creech Roberts the son of her step father Stephen Roberts. She also became a sister in law to Wilson Williams the son of Britton Williams most likely the grandson of Theophilus Williams. 

Another son, Joshua Campbell, was born circa 1770 and died before 1827. He was married to Zilpha Best daughter of Absalom Best.  Absalom Best had 200 acres on the Catfish Branch of the Pee Dee River 16 December 1766.  Another son named Israel Campbell, in April 1795, witnessed a deed of gift from Britton Williams’ widow Elizabeth to her children Wilson Williams, Sarah Vasser, and Martha Bowen. She may have been the mother of Catherine Blanche Campbell. In 1799 William Campbell bought from Britton William’s son Wilson Williams lands of his father on King’s Creek Barnwell District first granted to William Brown.

In 1766 this Robert Lee sold off his properties in preparation for a move to South Carolina. In that year he sold his lands  to Theophilus Williams’ brother Isaac lands on southside of Neuse River adjoining  Theophilus Williams line, southside of Briery Marsh, to John Lee’s second corner pine, from a grant to John Blackman made 4 April 1750. The witnesses were Richard Ingram, John Ingram and Jethro Butler.  On 15 February 1769 Robert Lee received a Crown of fifty acres near Stony Point, in Granville County, South Carolina, another grant of 300 acres  on upper 3 Runs, also in Granville County. His near neighbor was Ezekiel Williams, Theophilus Williams’ nephew.

This 1766 deed between Robert Lee and Isaac Williams is the last known record that mentioned Theophilus Williams as owning land in Duplin County. It is not known whether he was still living at this time but the record doesn’t indicate that he was deceased. There are no more land transactions for Theophilus Williams and no probate record has ever been located for him or his wife Christian. He probably died circa 1766 perhaps near 70 years old. He would have been living in Duplin County probably on his near Mill Creek.

Children of Theophilus Williams and Christian Busby

John Williams was born circa 1721 near the Roquist Creek, Bertie, North Carolina Colony and died 1789 on property along Coosahatchie River, Orangeburgh Distrist [Allendale County], South Carolina. He married Abigail who died in 1802 when her estate was probated 2 Nov 1802 in Barnwell District [Allendale County] South Carolina. Her maiden name is thought to be Creech and was a relative of Richard Creech of Barnwell District. He is believed to be the father of Britton Williams and Joshua Williams of Winton County [Allendale County]. In 1763 John Williams moved to St. George Parish, Georgia from Fort Winyaw in Craven County, South Carolina with 3 children and 3 slaves. He was granted 300 acres in St. George Parish near John Nesmith and John Maner. The next year in 1764 he sold lands he owned on west side of Great Coheary in Duplin County to Abraham Odam and Jeremiah Simmons. Records also showed that he owned 300 acres of lands north side of Briar Creek by the Savannah River, four miles below Stoney Bluff by neighbor James Nesmith in St. George Parish. Britton Williams acquired in 1768 Johann Jasper Hirtschman's relinquished land grant which was on lands in St. George Parish, Georgia along the Savannah River. Hirtschman had patented this property by 3 Dec 1760. To the north of Hirtschman’s grant was a farmer named Andrew Greiner who had lands adjoining a John Williams. John Williams had settled in Georgia in 1764. The close proximity of John Williams to Britton makes me suspect that this John Williams is the father of Britton Williams and son of Theophilus Williams of Duplin County North Carolina. Additionally a near neighbor of Britton Williams was John Royal whose lands were adjacent to John Williams.  John Royal’s sister-in-law was John Williams’ sister Esther Williams. John Royall  was a resident of both Georgia and North Carolina. A land record dated 10 July 1765 shows that John Williams  held lands at Beaverdam in Duplin County. Two years later he is shown on 7 July 1767 as owning property adjoining James Pierce in St. George Parish, Ga. Three years after that he is back in Duplin County, North Carolina buying land from John Bush on the west side of the Great Coharie River. This land is now in what is Sampson County, North Carolina.  John Bush was the brother-in-law of Ezekiel Williams a nephew of Theophilus Williams and Christian Bryan. John Williams and Ezekiel Williams were first cousins.

Joseph Williams was born circa 1722 near the Rocquis River, Bertie, North Carolina Colony and died circa 1790. He married Mary Hicks on 8 August 1746 in Onslow County and later moved to Duplin County where he was elected sheriff. 14 March 1745/6 Craven County, Joseph Williams bought land on southside of Neuse River on Mill Creek from father Theophilus Williams.  He executed a deed of gift in Duplin County on 10 May 1763 to his children: Daniel Williams,  Theophilus Williams,  Frances Williams and Easther [sic: Hester]. On 1 October 1764 he bought land from Richard Bass west side of Great Coheary in Johnston County and in 1769 he is listed in a Poll Tax List of Dobbs County.
A. Hester [Esther] Williams was born in Onslow County on 8 August 1746 and probably named for her aunt. She married William Whitfield III (1743-1817) as the first of his four wives.
B. Mary Williams was born 22 Feb 1748 in Onslow County and married William Dixon (Dickson)
C. Daniel Williams was born 4 Jan 1751 in Duplin County and married Sarah Nixon. He moved to Tennessee.
D. Benjamin Williams was born 30 Dec 1752 in Duplin County
E. Theophilus Williams was born 19 Jan 1755 in Duplin County and married wife Charity Barfield the daughter of Jesse Francis Barefield and Sarah Castellow. Theophilus Williams and Charity Barfield were married 26 June 1779 in Duplin County. In 1785 they lived in District 12 in Duplin County. He was an overseer and owned 2 slaves
F. Susannah Williams was born circa 1757 in Duplin County and married 16 May 1779 in Duplin County Frederick Barfield. He was born 14 December 1757 in Duplin County died after 1820 in Lauderdale, Tennesee. He was the son of Jesse Francis Barefield and Sarah Castellow. They had the following Children- James Barfield, George Barfield, Blake Barfield, and Susan Barfield.  
G. Frances Williams was born circa 1759 in Duplin County
H. Joseph Williams was born 1761 in Duplin County
I. James Williams died circa 1790  in Jones County. He married Sarah Brice and had children, Brice Williams, Benjamin Williams. Christian Williams wife of Thomas Nixon, James Spicer and Robert Nixon, Sarah Williams wife of Benjamin Smith and Basil (Bazzel) Smith, Cassandra Williams wife of Mr. Campbell,  Mary Williams wife of Benjamin Lavender,  Clarissa Williams wife of John Shine, James Williams

James Williams was born circa 1724 near the Rocquis River, Bertie, North Carolina Colony and lived in the Goshen Settlement, Duplin County. On 9 November 1766 he acquired 501 acres on Grove Swamp, on the Marsh Branch of Miller Swamp in Duplin County. He married circa 1744 Alice McRae the daughter of William McRae and Margaret Creighton.  She was born in 1725. James Williams and Alice McRae had three children William Williams, Dorthea Williams, and Martha Williams.  His father in law William McRae “of Goshen Settlement Duplin County” was born in 1675, in County Down, Northern Ireland, and had his will probated 30 March 1751 in which he mentioned his sons John McRae, James McRae, Robert McRae and daughters Susannah McRae, Sarah McRae Smith wife of John Smith, Alice McRae Williams wife of James Williams and Grandson William Williams and Grandaughter Dorthea Williams.  Goshen Swamp is a blackwater creek swamp located in Duplin County, North Carolina, near the towns of Faison and Calypso. It is a tributary of the Northeast Cape Fear River.  When Duplin county was established  April 7, 1750 the county seat was located in the home of William McRae from 1750 to 1753.

Esther Williams was born 1726 in Bertie County and died circa 1773 in St. George Parish, Halifax County, Georgia. She was wife of Samuel Royal of St. George Parish, Georgia. Samuel Royal was the son of Charles and Sarah Powell Royal. On March 8, 1759 he married Esther Williams in Old Ebenezer Church, at Springfield, Georgia. His brother John Royal was one of the early arrivals in St. George's Parish, Georgia. In December 1759 John Royal, stated that he had been one year in Georgia. He had a wife and three children. And was Granted 400 acres in November 1764.  Samuel Royal was born circa 1729 and died after 1783 but before 1791. He is believed to be the second Royal to come to Georgia. In February 1761 he petitioned for and was granted 200 acres, stating that he had been two years in Georgia and had wife and one child. Samuel returned to Onslow County briefly in September 1764 to sell the 200 acres he had bought from his brother Arthur. After the death of Esther Williams, on 27 March 1774 Samuel married Mrs. Verlinda Godbee, the widow of Henry Godbee. Samuel Royal, et al, all planters of St. George' Parish were fined 4 pounds sterling each for not answering jury call to the Court at Savannah. He fought with the local Militia in the Revolution and was living in 1783. After much study and supposition (due to lack of Burke Co. records before 1856) it is believed that the Royals appearing in the 1820 and 1830 U, S. Census of Burke Co. were his children and grandchildren. It is an impossible task to separate them, but the following miscellaneous Royal data is almost certainly pertaining to Samuel's descendants. In 1792 on a land Plat " Widow Royal" , who is Verlinda is back in Burke Countyon the old creek road with two of her children, Cary & Stephen Godbee. Samuel Royal had to have died before that date. Samuel Royal and Esther Williams were the parents of Mary Royal, Isaac Royal, Esther Royal, Nice Royal and John Royal.  John Royal was born 22 December 1762 in St. George Parish and died 3 February 1838 in Houston, County, Georgia. He married 17 April 1795 Rebecca Godbee the daughter of William Godbee and Mary Bergaton. She was born 10 April 1777 in St. George Parish and died 21 April 1862 in Houston County. John Royal was a Lieutenent in the Revolution.

Lewis Williams was born 1728 in Bertie County and died 1783 in Onslow County. He married Mary “Ann” Wilkins probably daughter of John and Prudence Wilkins. Some accounst say her maiden name was Norman. In his will he mentions daughter Serene Williams and son Bryan. Ann's will from 1792 mentions Boneta Williams and Benjamin Williams. They had the following children, 
A. Serene Williams was born circa 1756 and died 1789. Her husband Daniel Hicks was the son of Captain Thomas Hicks and Elizabeth Williams of Brunswick County, Virginia
B. Bryan Williams
C. Benjamin Williams was born 11 December 1775 in Onslow, North Carolina.  He married Sarah "Sally" Battle the daughter of Ephraim Battle in Onslow, North Carolina; bond date December 24, 1796, Bondsman B. Lester, witness Patrick Mahoney. 1840 Census: Residence in Davis. Saline, Arkansas Children of Benjamin and Sally may include: Miles Williams, Sarah Mariah Williams, Eliza Williams, Susan Williams, Boneta Williams, Peter Williams, Ann Mary Williams, Lorenzo Williams, Nathan Williams, John Williams, Lydia Williams, Harriet Williams, Edward Williams, Amy Williams, Harrison Williams, Clarissa Williams, and Lott Williams. (not all are proven). Information from family Bible states that his death date was in the month of May, between the years of 1851 to 1860; the year and date are not known because the page was torn.
D. Bonita Williams
E. Lieutenant Nathan Brice Williams

6. Ferriby Williams born 1730 Bertie County and nothing more is known of her. She may have died young.

THE NEEDHAM WILLIAMS INCIDENT

Needham and Anne Bryan's two sons, Needham Bryan II and William Bryan both owned large plantations in Johnston County and they were neighbors to John Smith, Sr. and his wife Elizabeth Whitfield. There are numerous land deeds available in Johnston County for all of these people. Needham Bryan II owned thousands of acres of land in this area. The present town of Smithfield, North Carolina is located where John Smith, Needham Bryan II and William Bryan's plantations once stood. The town Smithfield was named after John Smith, Sr.'s son John Smith, Jr. who donated the land for the original town. Needham Bryan II on April 23, 1777 introduced a bill in the Colonial Assembly to establish the town of Smithfield, North Carolina.

Needham Bryan II and William Bryan married daughters of John Smith and Elizabeth Whitfield. Needham Bryan II married Nancy Ann Smith and William Bryan married Elizabeth Smith. Needham Bryan II deeded thousands of acres of land to his oldest son Needham Bryan III in Johnston County in 1777.


In 1780 Needham Bryan, William Bryan, and his oldest son Lewis Bryan were poisoned by an African American woman named Jenny whom Lewis Bryan kept as a slave. The Johnston County court minutes in the November term 1780 gives an account of the trial, conviction and execution of Jenny who was accused of poisoning and killing Needham Bryan and other members of his family.


Court - Johnston County, North Carolina 8 Nov 1780 - Trial - Minutes of the Special Court for the Trial of Negroes: At a special court held for the tryal of Negro Jenney the Property of the late Lewis Bryan Dec'd, charged with the Poisoning of Needham Bryan his Father & family at the Court House of the sd County on Wednesday the 8th day of November AD 1780.Justices Present: Nathan Williams, James Lockhart, Jesse Tyner, Richard Warren. Freeholders present: Benj. Williams Jr, Wm Avera, Aaron Vinson, John S. Whitley.


Who being legally Summoned to the Tryal of the said qualified & proceeded to the ismenation of Negros Juno, Patti Beck and Treacey together with the Testimony of Patty Lynch, James Bagget evidences against the said Negro Jenney & after Considering the same & the circumstances belonging - are of the opinion that the said Negro Jenney is Guilty of the poisoning so laid to her charge as aforesaid and do accordingly order & sentence that the said Negro Jenney be  carried back to the place of confinement & from there to be taken to the ground of the Court green. On Saturday the eighteenth of this instant (November) between the hours of twelve & one of the clock in the after noon, & there to be burnt to death by a stake & that the Sheriff of this County see that the said sentence be carried into execution.


At the same time the Court taking the value of the said negro under consideration do value her to Five thousand pounds cur. Certifyed under the hand and seal of the said Justices & Freeholders respectfully this eighth November AD 1780.


The Needham Bryan, sheriff of Johnston County, who happens to be the son of Needham Bryan  was ordered to carry-out the execution. It was he who did the burning at the stake. 


Jenny was burned at the stake in the county seat of Smithfield, North Carolina as an example to other slaves. All African Americans in the county were required to attend and witness the execution as Jenny was burned alive.


Johnston Co., NC Ct. Minutes. 27 Nov 1780 - Ordered that the Needham Bryan Shereff be Allowed two and an half PCent from the amt. of the sales of Lewis Bryans Estate and that the Admr. pay the same.


Court - Johnston Co., NC Ct. Minutes. 26 Feb 1781 - Presented into Court by Nm Bryan high sheriff of Johnston Co. the Account of Sales of the Estate of Lewis Bryan deceased amounting in the whole to one hundred and two thousand Three hundred and Seventeen pounds fourteen shillings.


Court - Johnston Co., NC Ct. Minutes 26 Feb 1782 - Samuel Smith Esquire Adm. of the Estate of Needham Bryan desd. came into Court and settled his Administration and produced Notes to the amount of Two hundred seventy five pounds seven shillings and ten pence and paper currency to the amount of eight hundred and ninety pounds eleven shillings and six pence, with several vouchers & papers, all of which are Ordered to be filed in the Office with the Clerk until further Orders thereon.