Thomas Robinson

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Thomas Robinson
B: ???
D: before May 1794, Rutherford Co, NC
married
Unknown

Children
Name Born Died Married
*Luke

See Notes
c1735
?Brunswick Co VA
c1813
Marlboro Co SC
Christian Ussery
B: ?
D: c1781
Montgomery Co NC
M: c1756
*John

See Notes
Unknown Unknown Unknown
Margaret

Children
**6 Aug 1768
prob Rutherford Co, NC
4 Apr 1845
TN
Thomas Price
B: 1766 ???
D: 13 Feb 1827
White Co TN
M: 16 May 1789
Burke Co NC
William **8 Dec 1770
prob Rutherford Co, NC
Unknown ?Catharine Carrick
B: ???
D: ???
M: 1793
Rutherford Co NC
Thomas Jr **1 June 1772
Rutherford Co, NC
18 Aug 1846
Chambers Co, AL
Sarah Lewis
B: 29 Apr 1778 NC
D: 25 Apr 1863
Chambers Co, AL
M: 20 Jul 1797
Rutherford Co, NC
*Mary Unknown Unknown ?John Goodman
M: 9 Dec 1802
Rutherford Co, NC
*Possible Children.
**These dates are taken from two pages of Thomas Robinson's Bible found in the National Archives under Thomas Price, Revolutionary War Pension Request File #W1076 that was filed by Margaret Robertson [Robinson], wife of Thomas Price. To see a copy click here
.


I know very little of Thomas Robinson and his life in North Carolina other than what the records say. He appears to be a frontiersman, always living on the fringe of civilization. His parents, wife and names of some of his children are not know. He is mentioned as a "planter" which suggests a better than average life style. He owned land in today's Gaston, Lincoln and Rutherford Counties in North Carolina. I know of no close associates, with the exception of the Moore family and possibly the Biggerstaff family. Although there are numerous deeds and court records they provide little additional information. It's very possible he was the Thomas Roberson found in Edgecombe and then Granville Counties in NC in the 1740's and 50's. For more on the Thomas Robinson in Granville Co NC click here. For a chronological listing of events relating to Thomas Robinson in Gaston, Lincoln and Rutherford Counties NC click here.

Here is his story as I know it:

The first time I find a Thomas Robinson in the area where he is found later on is in 1749 in old Anson Co NC where a Thomas Robinson was issued at least 3 Land Grants in between the South Fork and the Catawba River (just west of Charlotte). According to Minnie Stowe Puetts' book "History of Gaston County", Thomas Robinsons' Land Grant of 13 April 1749 was very close to the junction of the Catawba and South Fork and his grant was one of the earliest in the county. One deed says Thomas Robinson was "5 or 6 miles below Robert Leeper joint the River". This would have put his land in the Mount Holly (Gaston Co NC) area. In this same area, around the same time, are two other Robinsons - John and Alexander - but I've found no connection between them and Thomas.

Between 1753 and 1761 the records are silent on any Thomas Robinson in this area. In 1762 a Thomas Robinson appears in today's Lincoln Co NC. This is clearly the Thomas Robinson who dies in Rutherford Co NC. He is found witnessing a deed between Moses Moore and Valentine Mauney on Indian Creek (just west of Lincolnton NC). This same year Thomas also purchases land from Moses Moore on Indian Creek. There is also a reference in a Francis Beatty deed, dated 1765, to Thomas Robinson and Aaron Moore (brother of Moses) owning land together on Indian Creek. There were at least 4 Moore families (Aaron, John, Moses & William) living in the Indian Creek area. John Moore was killed by the Indians in 1760.

An undated Militia List of Captain Moses Moore (NC Archives Mil TR 1-5) lists Thomas Robinson, as well as many of those found in early Tryon County (Lincoln Co NC area). This militia list may well be from the time of the French and Indian War, although it's possible it was just for protection of the frontier. Dating of this document could be as early as 1755 and as late as 1764.

Note: To see pictures Moses Moore's orignal home click here. (opens in new window)

By 1764 Thomas Robinson is in today's Rutherford County, North Carolina (old Mecklenburg County). He had two Land Grants that year. One Land Grant later became know as Robinson Creek (just west of Bostic and north of Forest City). The second Land Grant was just north of Robinson Creek and was sold to Elizabeth Biggerstaff in 1767. Thomas was to remain on the Robinson Creek land for the remainder of his life, although he still owned the land on Indian Creek (just west of Lincolnton) and land between the Catawba and South Fork.


Note: Moses Moore must have come with Thomas Robinson during this time because Moses has two Land Grants on Cane Creek in Rutherford Co on the same date Thomas Robinson has his Robinson Creek Land Grants.

Note: Elizabeth Moore Biggerstaff was married to Samuel Biggerstaff. Samuel died in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina in 1764 and Elizabeth moved to Rutherford County where she purchased land from Thomas Robinson. Elizabeth was the sister of Moses, Aaron, John and William Moore. Thomas Robinson, Moses, Aaron and John Moore purchased items from Samuel Biggerstaff's estate. Elizabeth and Samuel were married in Conococheague, Pennsylvania in 1741. The Moore family was from Chester and Cumberland Counties, Pennsylvania.

From this time until he dies in 1793/4 in Rutherford Co, Thomas Robinson appears to go back and forth between his land on Indian Creek and the Robinson Creek land. In between he picked up land on Wards Creek (today's Cleveland Co) and Puzzel Creek (today's Rutherford Co). He is seldom found in the court records (except to buy or sell land) or witnessing other deed and I suspect he was some what of a loner. He went about as far west as you could go in North Carolina and still have level farm land. He may have been one of those backwoods type that avoided or didn't get involved with government.

These two deeds may indicate that Thomas Robinson also had a mill on Robinson Creek.

James Greenlee, Lewis Beard, William Erwin enter 640 acres in Rutherford Co on waters of Robertson Creek adjacent John McMulon and Robertson on southside." 8 May 1795, Pg 99 Rutherford Co Land Entries.

James Greenlee, Lewis Beard, William Erwin enter 640 acres in Rutherford Co adjacent James Welsh's old survey, Barclay Dove old plantation on Hunters Creek and runs down the ridge road towards Robertson's old mill. 8 May 1795, Pg 101, Rutherford Co Land Entries.

Was Thomas Robinson a Revolution War veteran? It's doubtful. He clearly was sympathetic to the British cause. In 1782 a Rutherford Co Court of Pleas and Qtr Session and the Morgan District Superior Court Records list Thomas Robinson and others as "aided and joined" the army of Major Ferguson and are convicted as Tories "a true bill". What the Morgan District Superior Court document actually says is "the petition of William Gilbert...complaining that...(a list of names including Thomas Robinson) and others...in the Year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty in the County of Rutherford aforesaid with force & Arms... came to the Dwelling house of said Petitioner...". The records are silent on whether Thomas Robinson was involved in any other Revolutionary War battles. When the United States had defeated the British, Congress put into effect the Confiscation Act. This allowed local governments to take possession of convicted Tory land. William Gilbert was a JP of Rutherford Co during this time. He is greedy and tries to claim as much land in Rutherford Co as he can. Some Tory land was confiscated, but after the Confiscation Act was repealed, most of this land in Rutherford Co was given back to it original owner.

Another puzzling transaction was that on 14 October 1785 when Thomas Robinson , Martha (Biggerstaff) Morgan and Elizabeth Cartright sold to Nicholas Heavener land on Indian Creek "which they became legally vested with" . Exactly what the relationship between the three is not know or why they received this land together. No other documents have been found that would shed some light on why they are receiving this land. It could have been from a will or, perhaps, some legal dealings they had.

By August of 1793 Thomas Robinson is clearly getting his estate in order. No will has been found and the six documents listed are probably the division of his estate while he was still alive. By May of 1794 Thomas Robinson is dead as a deed of that date clearly shows. See below for a division of his estate.

Other early Robinson families in this area:
John and Alexander Robinson are mentioned above. According to William Sherrill's book "Annals of Lincoln Co" other early settlers included Adam Sherrill, John Perkins, Henry Weidner and "the Robinsons". Exactly who "the Robinsons" are is unclear, but one that seems a good possibility is James Robinson, who married Adam Sherrill's daughter. James Robinson is found as early as 1751 on Clarks Creek (runs from today's Catawba County down through Lincoln Co). James Robinson named a son, born in 1760, Jesse and this Jesse is the first of that name I've found in western North Carolina. Indian Creek, where Thomas Robinson had land, flows into Clarks Creek just south of Lincolnton. I feel certain James and Thomas knew each other, but am not sure there is any kinship.

The 1790 Rutherford Co NC Census Seventh Company:
Thomas Robinson is listed in this census with:
"3 Free White Males 16 & Over"
"1 Free White Male under 16"
"4 Free White Females all ages"

I suspect the 3 white males were Thomas Sr, William and Thomas Jr. The free white male under 16 is unknown, however, I have assigned the name Luke to this person for the following reason. In 1804, the Concord Baptist Church in Rutherford Co NC has a membership list which includes Thomas Robinson Jr, John Robinson, Luke Robinson, Abel Lewis and Graves Eaves. This church was located about a mile from Thomas Sr land. This Luke Robinson marries Drusilla Green on 1 Nov 1805 and the bondsman is John Robinson. It's very possible he was a son of this John Robinson who may have been the son of Thomas Robinson Sr. Thomas Robinson Jr has a son named Luke and you have to believe it was a family name that carried over to the next generation.

The 4 white females of all ages is a mystery. Margaret Robinson Price is married by this time and appears not to be living in Thomas Sr home. A Mary Robinson is given property by Thomas Sr before he dies. I suspect Mary Robinson is one of these listed. Another may have been Thomas Sr wife, although no record indicates she was alive when he died, unless you assign this Mary Robinson as his wife. I have chosen not to. William and Thomas Jr were not married at this time so the females listed couldn't be their wives. Another possibility is William Robinson was not living in the home at this time and this John Robinson, wife and children were. The 1800 Rutherford Co Census shows two John Robinson and in 1775 a John Robeson is given a LG for 200A on both sides of Puzle Creek of Second Broad River. I suspect the two John Robinson's in the 1800 Rutherford Co NC census are father and son, although I've never found a document that says John Robinson Jr or John Robinson Sr. The elder John Robinson may have been a son of Thomas Robinson Sr.

Problems with Thomas Robinson Sr Revolutionary War Service:
Lyman Draper's books "King Mountain and Its Heroes" have caused a lot of confusion about whether Thomas Robinson was or wasn't in the Revolutionary War. Here is what Draper says about the Kings Mountain battle on 7 Oct 1780:

"Among Hampton's men was William Robertson, who during the fight was shot completely through the body, the ball entering at one side, and passing out the other. He fell quite helpless to the ground. His wound was apparently mortal, and chancing to recognize one of his neighbors lying down near him, he anxiously inquired if he, too, was wounded. The reply was that his gun was choked, or something of the kind, and would not fire. Robertson then gave him his rifle. "Give me your shot-bag, also, old fellow," he added, for his own supply was exhausted. With his own hand the fallen patriot delivered him his ammunition. But God was better to the wounded hero than his fears; for in due time he recovered, and raised a family, living near Brittain (Presbyterian Church), in Rutherford Co, on the farm now occupied by William L. Twitty. Thomas Robinson-Robertson, a brother of the wounded man, was posted behind a tree, when a Tory neighbor, named Lafferty, discovering him, called him by name; and Robertson peering around the tree to see who had spoken to him, when a ball sped quickly past him cutting the bark off the tree near his head. Robertson immediately fired back, before his antagonist could regain his position, mortally wounding the tricky Tory, who was near enough to exclaim, and he heard, "Robertson, you have ruined me." "The D___l help you" responded the Whig, and then re-loading his rifle resumed the fight for freedom."

It has been assumed the Thomas Robertson/Robinson mentioned above is our Thomas Robinson, who had a brother named William. There was a William Robertson who lived very close to Thomas Robinson in the 1790 census. It's possible these were brothers that ended up spelling their names differently. William Robertson did have a son name Thomas, but William clearly signs his name "William Robertson" on his will, whereas, Thomas Robinson is a "Robinson". William Robertson's descendants still live in the Rutherford Co area and have the rifle and leather stretcher that came from the Kings Mountain battle. I spoke with an elder descendant of William Robertson years ago who wasn't sure if they were brothers or not, but did say when he was a boy Robinson Creek was known as Robertson Creek and that along the creek they grew "Robertson" apples. He was told those apples were started by the original settler on Robinson Creek.

I believe it's unlikely Thomas Robinson was Drapers "Thomas Robinson". More likely, it was William Robertson's son Thomas. If our Thomas Robinson would have fought with the "patriots" at Kings Mountain it is very unlikely he would have been included in the Confiscation Act. Another reason to believe he favored the British is his close association with the Moore and Biggerstaff families, who both strongly supported the British during the Revolutionary War.

Where did Thomas Robinson come from? Since writing this, it appears my first theory has been ruled out by yDNA on the Robinson family found in early Augusta Co VA that came out of MD, DE and PA. Their haplo group is completely different from Thomas Robinson Sr. If my second theory holds up, the records seem to indicate that Thomas Robinson Sr may have been a son of the Brunswick Co VA John Robinson found on Sturgeon Creek. For more on this see my second theory below.

First Theory: I have to believe the dealings with the Moore and Biggerstaff families by Thomas Robinson show some proof of a close association prior to coming to North Carolina. They came from Pennsylvania before coming into North Carolina. I have yet to located a direct connection of Thomas Robinson in Pennsylvania, but there are hints. Some researchers believe Moses Moore left North Carolina after the Revolutionary War and went to South Florida. I think they have the wrong Moses Moore. I believe the Moses Moore (1731-1782) that Thomas Robinson associated with is buried in Hopewell Presbyterian Church cemetery (Charlotte, NC) along with his wife, Ann Alexander Moore. What's interesting about this is Moses Moses's will names Ezekiel Alexander (1726-1811) as his brother-in-law. Ezekiel's wife is Martha Robinson. The Alexander family comes from the New Castle, DE area. Another clue may be from an article written in the "Bulletin of the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County" in Nov 1991. It relates to this deed. "Israel Robinson Land Grant of 1000 acres in Anson County North Carolina on the southside of the Broad River on the north fork that branches out about the Cherokee Trading Path about 12 miles above the Great Falls on the side fork and including a greater beaver pond that is there." 31 March 1752. Land Grant Office Book 2 Pg 25 Anson Co NC File 65. The article says:

"Israel's grant dtd 31 Mar 1753 was for 1000A around the mouth of what became Robinson Crk, where the river branched out about the Cherokee Trading Path... The Great Falls was later called Richardson's Shoal and the Second Broad Riv was then know as the North Fork. But Robinson Creek was not named for Israel. On 16 Nov 1764 Thomas Robinson patented 730A in exactly the same location and became a resident. Surely a descendant of Israel Robinson. Israel Robinson was a taxpayer in 1718 in the Skuylkill District of old Chester Co, later Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania. There he fulfilled civic duties, ran an ordinary, and amassed enough wealth to go south and speculate when Carolina opened up, or send his sons."

This is interesting, but not conclusive proof. There was another Israel Robinson in old Granville Co, NC who had sons that did go into western North Carolina at an early date. Plus, the name Israel has never been used in our Robinson family. For my notes on the Augusta Co VA connection click here.


Second Theory: Is the Thomas Robinson in Brunswick Co, VA in 1735, the same Thomas Robinson found in the 1790 census of Rutherford Co, NC? Or, was this the father of the Rutherford Co, NC Thomas Robinson? Here are the facts and some thoughts. In 1735 a Thomas Robinson has this deed:

Thomas Robinson leases and releases 150 acres from William Toms and wife Margaret of St Andrews Parish on the north side of Roanoke River in Clemmen's line. Part of a grant to John Davis and sold to Toms. Witness: Cornelius Keith, Samuel (B) Buckstone, William Jinkines. 4-5 Feb 1735/6, Pg 269-71, Brunswick Co VA.

Note: The land in this deed would have been in the western part of Brunswick Co or what later became Lunenburg Co and then Mecklenburg Co, VA, and just north of the NC boundary.

In 1745 we have the following deed for Thomas Roberson and his wife Mary:

Thomas Roberson and Mary, his wife, of Edgecombe County [North] Carolina to [13 Jun 1745] Christopher Hudson of St Andrew's Parish in Brunswich Co Vir for L45 one certain tract of land and plantation containing about 150 acres lying in a bent on the northside of Roanoke River in St Andrew's Parish in Brunswick and bounded by the line of John Clemens deceased, a line the said Roberson and William Toms made between themselves. The land was patented to John Davis of St Andrew's Parish in Brunswick Co and afterwards sold by Davis to William Toms who sold it to Thomas Roberson. S/Thomas Roberson, Mary (her X mark) Roberson. Witness: John Wilkins, Mary (her X mark) Wilkins, William Taber. Recorded Pg 84, Brunswick Co VA DB 3, 3 Oct 1745.

Note: See Spotsylvania Co VA for an earlier Thomas Robinson who may have been the Thomas Robinson found in Brunswick Co VA.

Thomas Roberson (Robinson) is now in Edgecombe Co, NC. In 1746, Granville Co, NC is formed out of part of Edgecombe Co and Thomas Roberson is found with the following deed:

Isaac Ricks of Edgecombe Co to Thomas Robertson of Granville Co for L10, 400 acres on the southside Tar River where Robertson now dwells, granted to Isaac Ricks, 5 Jul 1743. Witness: Osborne Jeffrey, J. Yancey, William Roberts. Book A, 30 Sep 1747, Granville Co, NC.

In 1752, Orange Co was formed out of Granville Co, NC. Orange County records were partially burned, so a complete record of the county isn't possible. The following two records show the Thomas Robertson/Robinson of Brunswick Co, VA and Edgecombe and Granville Co, NC is now in the new county of Orange:

Thomas Robason of Orange Co NC to Mordecai Moore of Granville Co NC for L100, 200 acres on the Tar River in John Lander's line to Rose's line, this being part of a larger tract granted to Isaac Ricks 1 Jul 1743. Witness: Hosea Taply, William Joyner. Deed Book C, Pg 528, Granville Co, NC, 1758.

Thomas Robinson to John Green, blacksmith, for L20, 200 acres on southside Tar River whereon William Gaus lived which was granted to Isaac Ricks. Witness: Aaron Fussell, Hosea Tapley, William Cheek. Deed Book B, Pg 237, 4 Sep 1753, Granville Co, NC.

In 1754 Thomas Robinson is found in Capt Andrew Hampton's Company in Orange Co, NC. Andrew Hampton ends up in Rutherford Co, NC a little after Thomas Robinson does. Andrew Hampton came out of Brunswick Co, VA before coming into North Carolina.

About this time there are several other Thomas Robinson/Robertson that start to appear in the Granville and Orange Co records. It's easy to get them confused and they are clearly different families. An interesting 1761 deed to Luke Roberson is quote below:

Luke Roberson of Granville Co a Land Grant for 550 acres on both sides Hughes Creek beginning in county line at John Pryor's. Witness: James Watson, Benjamin Hart. Entered 6 Oct 1755 and surveyed 28 Jan 1757. Recorded 2 Jan 1761, Pg 30, Orange Co, NC Land Grants.

What is interesting about this deed is the name Luke. Thomas Robinson Sr appears to have a son named Luke and Thomas Robinson Jr does have a son named Luke. At this time in North Carolina, this Luke Robinson is the only one found and he is clearly in the same area as Thomas Robinson. I haven't found any transactions between Luke and Thomas, or any other Robinson, so to link them is tough. About as close as I can get is the above Land Grant was next to John Pryor. Hosea Tapley who died in 1770 in Orange Co will was witnessed by John Pryor. This same Hosea Tapley witnessed at least two deeds for Thomas Robinson. By 1765, Luke Robinson has left Orange Co, NC and is found in Montgomery Co, NC (south of Orange Co) where he remains until moving to Marlboro Co., SC. Five of his children have the same names as Thomas Robinson Jr's children. They are: John, Thomas, Christian, William and Mary.

Note: Since writing this years ago I have now found, through Y DNA testing, that a descendant of this Luke Robinson and a descendant of Thomas Robinson Sr (my line) is a 100% match at 37 markers.

While the above doesn't show a connection between the Orange Co and Rutherford Co Thomas Robinson, there is other information that may point to Brunswick Co, VA. Here are some possible clues:

In 1728, in Brunswick Co, VA, a John and Mary Robinson/Robertson had a Land Grant of 297 acres on the north side of Sturgeon Run Creek. When they sold part of this land in 1731 they are listed as "John Robinson and wife Mary of Prince George Co, VA" and they sell to Richard Horne of Surry Co, VA. In 1745, Edgecombe Co, NC, Richard Horne sell 200 acres to Edward Flowers on the south side of the Tar River. Isaac Ricks witnessed this deed. This is the same Isaac Ricks that sold Thomas Robinson his land on the Tar River in 1747.

In 1743 in Brunswick Co, VA, Graves Eaves and John Eaves, both of Brunswick Co sell to John Roberson of Brunswick Co land in St Andrew's Parish on the north side of Meherrin River, adjacent John Eaves. This is the same Parish Thomas Robinson sold his land in 1745. This Graves Eaves dies in 1746 in Brunswick Co, VA. He probably came from Northumberland Co, VA, before coming into Brunswick Co. Graves Eaves Sr has a son, Graves Eaves Jr who buys land on Robinson Creek in Rutherford Co from Thomas Robinson. His son Bartlett Eaves also buys land from Thomas Robinson Sr in Rutherford Co and in Jasper Co, GA, Thomas Robinson Jr sells him land. There is considerable dealings between Graves Eaves, Thomas Robinson Sr, Thomas Robinson Jr and Abel Lewis in Rutherford Co. They were clearly good friends and almost appear to be related by the number of land dealings they had. They also went to the same church (Concord Baptist Church) in 1804 that Thomas Robinson Jr and Abel Lewis attended. Graves Eaves Jr also had a son named Jesse and that might be where the name Jesse Robinson comes from.

A coincident? Maybe! For a further discussion on Thomas Robinson in Brunswick Co VA, Edgecombe Co NC, Granville Co NC and Orange Co NC and how he may be this Thomas Robinson Sr, please click here.


Thomas Robinson Sr died before May 1794, in Rutherford Co, NC:

Thomas Hawkins of Rutherford Co NC to James Flinn, 100 acres on the east side of Second Broad River joining the lower part of THOMAS ROBINSON, deceased, old plantation, granted to William Eves in 1787, also joining land I sold to Thomas Covender. Wit: Alexander Cooper, Thomas Ussery. Deed Book M, Rutherford Co, NC, Pg 118, 11 May 1794.

Prior to his death he appears to "sell" his property to his children:

Know that I, THOMAS ROBINSON, for and in consideration of L25 to me paid by William Robinson at or before the delivery, have bargained, sold and delivered 1 mare and colt, 1 cow, 1 bed and furniture forever. S/THOMAS ROBINSON. Witnessed by Thomas Price and Thomas Hawkins. Rutherford Co Wills and Misc Records Bk B, Pg 22, 13 Aug 1793.

Known that I, THOMAS ROBINSON, in consideration of L25 in hand paid by Mary Robinson, before the delivery, I have bargained, sold and delivered 1 horse, 1 cow and calf, 4 head sheep, 1 feather bed and furniture, 1 dozen pewter plates, 4 dishes, 1 bason, 3 potts, 1 oven. S/THOMAS ROBINSON. Witnessed by Thomas Price and Thomas Hawkins. Rutherford Co Wills and Misc Records Bk B, pg 22, 13 Aug 1793.

Known that I, THOMAS ROBINSON SR, in consideration of L25 in hand paid by THOMAS ROBINSON JR before delivery, I have bargained, sold and delivered 1 mare, 1 cow and calf, 1 feather bed and furniture. S/THOMAS ROBINSON. Witnessed by Thomas Price and Thomas Hawkins. Rutherford Co Wills and Misc Records Bk B, Pg 23, 13 Aug 1793.

Know that I, THOMAS ROBERTSON [Robinson] of Rutherford Co NC to Mary Roberson [Robinson] of same, L30, 100 acres on the west side of Second Broad river, being part of my original Tract patent bearing date 16 Nov 1764. S/THOMAS ROBINSON. Wit: Thomas Price, Thomas Hawkins. Deed Book M, Rutherford Co, NC, Pg 9, 13 Aug 1793.