Monday, August 10, 2015

Jesse Thomas Sr.: Might As Well Be John Doe (52 Ancestors #21)

Jesse Thomas Sr.

An infuriating Quaker.

Might as well be John Smith or Doe. Seems Thomas was a very common surname among the Quakers in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Very common. Hair pulling frustration common. And (of course) there are (at least) two Jesses.......

Now, I'm sure my 3rd great grandfather didn't mean to be so difficult, and buried somewhere deep in the tomes of Quaker history lie the answers. Alas, a trip to Swarthmore is not in my future any time soon.

So today, as I write this short sketch, the answers I seek remain buried.

I admit I do have ulterior motives for this post. A little fishing expedition. The more we all can get out onto the world wide web, the more chance there is for someone; anyone, anywhere; to stumble across it and perhaps supply a missing piece of the puzzle. Genealogy appears to be a solitary pursuit, you know, with the Cave and all, but it is only successful with collaboration.

Also I might add, that I have avoided this for a while.  Quaker genealogy really is a study unto itself and I must admit that it boggles my mind and makes me cranky.

So here is what I know.
  • Jesse Thomas Sr. was born about 1786* in Chester Co., PA. His parents UNK to date.  FYI there are 41 heads of household in Chester County in the 1790 Federal Census with the Last name of Thomas. Forty One! Thirty two of those households report male children under 16. (Jesse would have been 4 at the time) By 1800 there are 30 heads of household, by 1810 (eureka!) there is but one Jesse listed in Chester County with 2 young adults and one child. (The 1786 Pennsylvania Census of Taxpayers lists 52 Thomas'.... but let's not go there)
  • He married Rebecca (or Rebecah) Hampton in 1808* in Chester Co., PA They were members of the Fallowfield Monthly Meeting in Chester Co., PA. 
  • Rebecca (Rebecah) was born May 12, 1790 in Bucks County, PA, the daughter of Jonathan Hampton and Elizabeth Phillips. This is one case where there is actually more recorded info on the woman than the man!
  • The couple had at least 11 children, according Quaker records. You'd think with 11 descendants there would be numerous people looking for Jesse, wouldn't you?
  • In 1820 the family requested removal from the Fallowfield Monthly Meeting in Chester Co., PA. in preparation to move to Ohio. They requested admittance to the Stillwater Monthly Meeting in Belmont Co., OH.
  • In 1839 the family is listed in the Deerfield Monthly Meeting records in Morgan Co., OH.
  • In 1842 Jesse is listed in the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting in Athens Co., OH, having died in February. He is recorded as being buried at Plymouth. Could that be Plymouth, Washington Co, OH?  There is a Jesse Thomas listed in the 1840 census residing in Westley Twp, Washington Co, OH - Plymouth is in Westley Twp. Plus my grandmother (the Genealogy Queen) has in her notes that the family was from Westley Twp.

*Dates are from other family trees. I usually don't use this type of information as I have not been able to source it, but I am including it this post as a stepping off point.

As I mentioned above, there are a few records for a Jesse Thomas born in 1791 to a Phillip and Hannah Thomas. He was born in Chester but the family attended the Goshen Monthly Meeting - probably not our guy.

There is a record of a Jesse Thomas "accomplishing" his marriage in 1806, but it was recorded in the Philadelphia Northern District Monthly Meeting - probably not our guy.

And that is it. That is all I know.  If only my Genealogy Cave was equipped with a time machine .......

Well, a girl can dream.

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