Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

the “widow” Pitman

with 36 comments

A couple commenters disagree with my theory of Elizabeth Pitman.  That is primarily why I chose this “blog” format- it allows for a healthy back and forth discussion- “peer review” if you will.  I encourage it and respect your opinions.  With that being said…
Under the Page “that Pitman gal” my theory is that Elizabeth Pitman is not the blood daughter of Elizabeth Anderson but the daughter of Thomas Pitman…  “Good Lord you blithering idiot”, you may ask, “anyone in their right mind can see she was the legitimate daughter of Elizabeth Anderson and had a son out of wedlock”.  Hugh B. Johnston even spelled it out:
Children of James and Elizabeth Anderson:
1. James Anderson
2.  Carrolus Anderson
3.  Elizabeth Anderson married ___Pitman
I disagree with him. I’ve disagreed with J. B. Bodie and I’ve pretty much accused Grimes of “abstracting while under the influence”.  But I can take it as well as dish it out.  I also have a sense of humor.  Try transcribing some colonial documents with a “spell checker” active and see if you can keep from laughing.
But back to my ludicrous theory which I so doggedly defend…
A dozen years ago I ran across this quote:
From the research of Donald Gordon (a Pittman descendant):
Thomas Pitman,of Monmouthshire, England, fled England during the Cromwell rebellion and landed in Virginia in 1649. He purchased land in Surry County, Virginia and had two sons Thomas and William. This grandson, the third Thomas moved about 1707 to Isle of Wight County. His daughter Elizabeth and son Robert, with Robert’s two sons, Samuel and Joseph moved to Edgecombe County North Carolina about 1738. Deeds in Edgecombe County show Robert, Samuel, Joseph and Elizabeth holding several hundred acres in the area North and West of Tarboro. Joseph who first appears on Edgecombe records as a bailiff of the court had a son Abner (b. 1758) and grandson born 1787. By this time the Pitmans became Pittmans and all spelled their name with two tees . The Pittmans held land North of Leggett stretching into southern Halifax County. Here Joseph and his wife Mary had a son Henry Elias born 1828. In 1850 Henry married Lucy Anderson who in 1852 gave birth to Biscoe Pittman who married Martha Alice Walston. To this marriage was born, as the last of eight children, Hobson Lafayette Pittman (1899) at Epworth.
While I can nitpick the “Thomas Pitman,of Monmouthshire, England, fled England during the Cromwell rebellion and landed in Virginia in 1649” bit… the part I have in bold is right on the money.  His daughter Elizabeth and son Robert, with Robert’s two sons, Samuel and Joseph moved to Edgecombe County North Carolina about 1738.  Furthermore I have proved it in my Pages.  The proof for Joseph Pitman, son of Robert, may be one of the most mind-numbing excursions into genealogy that you don’t want to take- but it is there.  The proof for Samuel Pitman was child’s play:
Source:  Henry and Harriett Turner Higgs Pittman Family Bible Records, page 20
Robert Pitman is easily traced in Halifax.  Elizabeth Pitman not so much… but here she is in 1744:
So… I think Elizabeth Pitman had an illegitimate son William Anderson and may not have ever married.  Folks may have snickered when they called her “widow Pitman”.  I think the Pitman that got her land was her nephew.  Or I could be wrong…  But Donald Gordon was right.  And the son of Robert Pitman witnessed the will of William Anderson.

Written by anderson1951

January 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

36 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. This is great. You’re right, the blog format allows for good discussion. And I have a few more questions etc…

    First, if William Anderson is Elizabeth Pitman’s illegitimate son, and Elizabeth never married, and we assume William never used the surname Pitman, then that would imply that whatever Anderson was his father took legal action to legitimize him. Has anyone sought these documents? Also, if someone took the trouble to do this, it would probably have been to secure inheritance; in that case, then odds would be William should have inherited something at some point from a male Anderson. Is there evidence of this?

    Secondly, if Elizabeth is the daughter of Thomas Pitman, how is she also the daughter of Elizabeth Anderson? Or are you saying they are two different Elizabeths? And two different William Andersons?

    Third, given all the different Joseph Pitmans in the area, do you think Joseph son of Robert is the one who lives near William Anderson, and to whom Elizabeth Pitman sold land? Is that the one you think is Elizabeth’s nephew?

    Fourth, who do you think is the James Pitman who lived/owned land in the same area as Elizabeth, William, etc.?

    Fifth, did Mr. Donald Gordon cite his sources?

    Sixth, how do you know that Joseph, son of Robert, is the one who witnessed William Anderson’s will? (Forgive me if some of this is already posted and I missed it!)

    I have no doubt Mr. Gordon is on the money with the location of these Pitmans – Elizabeth (and William’s) FAN club (friends, associates, and neighbors) were undoubtedly hanging out in or near present-day Halifax. However, I just think it makes more sense that Elizabeth married into this crowd rather than being born into it.

    Oh, and one nitpick…Mr. Gordon said that they moved to Edgecombe in 1738. I have to point out that Edgecombe didn’t exist in 1738. They would have been moving into Bertie Precinct. Sorry, but it’s so important to be precise about location with this type of research, and stuff like that drives me nuts. 🙂


    Traci Thompson

    January 5, 2012 at 10:29 am

    • 1. No, I’ve seen no inheritance papers… I would be beside myself with glee to find any.
      2. Elizabeth Anderson’s will states her “daughter” “Elizabeth Pitman”. My thought is that she was a daughter “out-of-law” to coin a phrase. 1 Elizabeth, 1 William. Consider that either Carolus or James knocked up (sorry) that Pitman gal from across the creek. There is also a mysterious Thomas Anderson in the shadow of this family.
      3. Yes. see my Page “the problem Pitman” That Joseph was my problem.
      4. He was either directly connected to Moses or Benjamin Pitman from south of Tar River near Gay’s Branch… or he came directly from modern Southampton, VA area north of Meherrin River.
      He sold all his Edgecombe property.
      This could also be him (I’ve not seen these full records… they would be in modern Nash County)
      NC Records (Online MARS)

      1742 Book 5, pg 340 (this isn’t the Edgecombe Book 5, pg 340) ?

      File No. 536, James Pitman

      May 5, 1742, 200 acres…”S. side of Sapponey creek”

      (Sapponey Creek is in present Nash County. In 1742 Edgecombe went all the way to the Mississippi River.)


      1742 Book 5, pg 359

      File No. 551, James Pitman

      May 15, 1742, 200 acres… “S. side of Sapponey Creek”


      1742 Book 10, pg 211

      File No. 935, James Pitman

      May 5, 1742, 200 acres… “The So. side of Soppony Creek”

      5. Mr. Gordon did not cite his sources.
      I checked the Pittman file at the Blount Bridgers house – The item you had was an exact quote from the paper by Donald Gordon who was a nephew of the artist Hobson Pittman. There is no other information about Elizabeth and Donald’s research was not documented. He came down through Abner and Joseph’s lines which he worked on. (Monika Fleming, Tarboro, NC)

      6. He was the only Joseph (in that peer group) at that time that was not dead.

      I agree with you that it makes more sense that Elizabeth married into the Pitman crowd. My interest is not mere appearances… I’m interested in the truth.

      Of course Edgecombe “Precinct” existed before the County… perhaps we should cut Mr. Gordon a little slack as his findings were probably meant for the family and not scholars. And concerning Mr. Gordon, I place a little extra weight on a researcher when he has probably interviewed actual family members who had actual memories.



      January 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

  2. On # 2…it would be highly unlikely that Elizabeth would have called Elizabeth Pitman “daughter” if she wasn’t a daughter or daughter in law. She would have merely said “to Elizabeth Pitman…” or used some other qualifier. I’ve never seen someone called daughter who wasn’t. Anything is possible, of course, but odds are slim. And again, if Carolus or James were the father of Elizabeth Pitman’s illegitimate child, the child would carry the name Pitman barring legal action. Odds are just very against this scenario, IMO.

    On # 3…I did take a look at that page, but I had some trouble following everything…I might be a little dense. 🙂 I just don’t get the connection between this particular Joseph and Robert.

    On # 4…I am not finding that he sold all his property. He sold some, but not all, unless I’m missing something. I see Moses had a son named James, but the earlier James disappears several years before Moses writes his will. (Again, unless I’m missing something.) I’m thinking James probably died, and you can’t leave property to a dead person…well you can try, but I don’t think the courts would have been amused. 🙂 I do think the James of the Nash deeds is probably the same as the Edgecombe James, but appears to have sold the Nash land and never lived on it.

    On # 5…alas. Then we have to take it with a grain of salt unless it’s backed up with other evidence. Regarding Mr. Gordon’s research, I am all for information within the family; there is no substitute for it. However, as with any evidence, we must weight the reliability. I seriously doubt he interviewed anyone with eyewitness memories from the 18th century, and so there is room for error.

    On #6…how do we know there weren’t others alive at the time? Gotta play devil’s advocate here, especially since that name seems to be extremely popular in this area.

    Ditto on the truth. Oh, and regarding the precinct, I was speaking of Bertie precinct, not Edgecombe.


    Traci Thompson

    January 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    • re #2… I agree and would feel very comfortable arguing from your points… remember this is 1732…

      Will of William Brown 15 Dec 1718 – recorded 21 July 1719 [SS 341 p 84 NC wills “My hold desire is for my wife to have ye remaining part of my estate to be equally divided between her and my seven children excepting one hundred acres of land to William Boon a brother.”

      Boon was not Brown’s brother.

      re #3…

      Edgecombe Co., NC, Court Minutes 1744-1762 Book I
      GoldenWest Marketing Genealogy, Temple City, CA
      [187]   Feb 1757/8
      Jos. PITMAN son of Robert (Overseer marked out) Constable in Room of George WIMBERLY
      (I know of NO OTHER ROBERT in this time period)
      Colonial Soldiers of the South   1732-1774
      Muster Roll of Edgecombe County Militia, North Carolina, 1750′s
(selected excerpts)
      Captain Jacob Whitehead’s Company
      10 Corporal, Coleman, Charles
      14 Soldier, Pitman, Athur
17 Soldier, Coleman, Robert
      30 Soldier, Coleman, Charles
      36 Soldier, Anderson, William
      43 Soldier, Ross, Andrew
      50 Soldier, Battle, Elisha
      66 Soldier, Griffin, James
      69 Soldier, Pitman, William
      82 Soldier, Pitman, Joseph
      86 Stallings, James
87 Coleman, Aron
      90 Pitman, Thomas
91 Pitman, Nathan

      I am not saying Joseph was the son of Robert Pitman, the historical document is…

      re #4… Hence my rabid interest of nailing down the details of this James Pitman… he is the key to solving the question of whether or not Elizabeth Pitman was his widow. I won’t be particularly disappointed if that turns out to be the case. My house-of-cards theory will fall and I will move on…

      re #5… Of course there is room for error… my point is that the exerpt of information that I quote from him is accurate. I find it fascinating because it is extremely rare to be able to track a woman, apparently single, and identified as the sister of Robert Pitman and the daughter of Thomas Pitman of Meherrin River.
      … and to nitpic my own research, the graphic that I show her above in 1742 could possibly be a wife of Thomas, Ambrose or, indeed, Robert Pitman or perhaps John Pitman who lived several miles west of them…. I would be grateful to anyone proving me wrong.

      re #6… I challenge you to show me another Joseph Pitman in 1789 who was of the same “peer group” as William Anderson. This Joseph also moved within a couple of miles to where William Anderson relocated to in 1787, two years before his death.

      And I certainly don’t think you are dense.



      January 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      • #2 – the terms “brother” and “sister” were sometimes used in a religious context; “daughter” not so much. I would hesitate to draw more conclusions on a word like “brother” without knowing more of the social context of the people involved and without seeing the original will. But I would hazard a guess that the use of “a brother” would be significant – the usual wording would be “my brother.”

        #3- I’ve seen this elsewhere on this site, but don’t see the relationship between these documents and the Joseph who was near William. How does the court record tie him to William, and how does the militia roster tie Joseph to Robert?

        #4- I am thinking that, if James had any land at his death and had offspring, they should have inherited. Perhaps a strategy would be to try to identify if any area pitmans obtained land in James’s vicinity without a deed.

        #5 – I’m not convinced that this is the same Elizabeth. But whatever one she is, she is an interesting case. The estate sale above is fabulous as it does put this Elizabeth with surnames that show up in the same area as James, Elizabeth, and William in Edgecombe.

        #6- Well, I’ll see what I can do. I’d like to settle that in my mind. But I still want to know, how do we know that the one alive at this time was son of Robert?

        Thanks for the vote of confidence – I need it, LOL! Oh, and also, your plat map of the land of these folks in Edgecombe is awesome.


        traci thompson

        January 5, 2012 at 9:10 pm

  3. I should be more clear regarding precincts. A petition to create Edgecombe Precinct was put forth in 1732, but dispute over its creation lasted until the early 1740s, and the area was technically governed by Bertie until 1741. This is outlined in Turner & Bridgers History of Edgecombe County.


    Traci Thompson

    January 5, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    • Stuff like that drives me nuts too… I wish Turner & Bridgers would have taken the time to give their sources more often tho’…

      History of Edgecombe County, North Carolina

      By Joseph Kelly Turner, John Luther Bridgers 1920

      pg. 18 The western part of Bertie Precinct increased rapidly in population, making progress both in civilization and importance. By 1723 there were twenty families on Tar River alone. Among the freeholders here in 1723 were James Thigpen, Thomas Elliott, Paul Palmer, James Anderson, Francis Branch, Samuel Spruill, James Long, Thomas Hawkins, William Burgis, William Arren- ton. Some of these families still have representatives among the county’s citizens, while the counties of Halifax and Nash, when cut off, carried some of these settlers, and their descendants also live in those counties.

      alas… no source to be found…



      January 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  4. You’re absolutely right – their lack of footnotes is a problem, and they have known errors. The good thing though is that it shouldn’t be too hard to verify such government action, unlike more obscure personal info, i.e. “Grandma said” etc.
    I’ll see what I can do about that…


    traci thompson

    January 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    • How ’bout we agree that its all about “proof”? Hugh B. Johnston said that James Anderson married Elizabeth Anderson. He was wrong. He also said Elizabeth (Anderson) Pitman was her daughter. Was he right? My argument is that we can’t just casually assume that we can insert the surname Anderson in between the name Elizabeth Pitman. Johnston did that… where was his proof? The will is fact. He was “Just Thinking” as he headed his columns…

      The signature “mark” of the Elizabeth (wife of James) that he claims to be the husband of Elizabeth who died in 1733 is not even close.

      How ’bout we also dismiss the research of Donald Gordon as “questionable” and go with where I took up from where he left off?

      Robert Anderson moved to Edgecombe Precinct about 1738 with his sister Elizabeth and sons Joseph and Samuel Pitman. In 1744 Elizabeth Pitman bought some trinkets in modern Halifax County in the same neighborhood as Robert. In 1749 “an” Elizabeth Pitman obtained a grant just above the homestead of Elias Fort (who witnessed the will of Elizabeth Anderson in 1733). The son of Robert Anderson, Joseph, witnessed the will of William Anderson.

      See if you can find any connection whatsoever to a child of Elizabeth Pitman of Tar River…

      And, if Elizabeth Pitman was the widow of James Pitman, who presumably died in 1746, why did she not get her third of his property adjacent to hers? I think it is just a coincidence that his wife was also named Elizabeth. And as I’ve stated before… my baldness is in serious jeopardy, if I keep pulling my hair out, of becoming embarassing.



      January 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      • How do you know Hugh was wrong about James Anderson marrying Elizabeth Anderson? (Again, forgive me if I’ve missed something – it’s that mind-numbing thing.)

        No, we can’t just casually insert the name Anderson in the middle of Pitman. Hugh, who although like anyone made mistakes, was very familiar with Eastern NC genealogy and family patterns, and he saw that the most *likely* scenario was what he stated. He probably should have just been more clear about it being *probably* and not *definitely.* This is where a lot of genealogists slip up. Was he right? Maybe. 🙂

        I’ve briefly looked at the mark argument, and it is intriguing. I need to give it further study, and will do so.

        Ok, let’s assume all we know about Robert Pitman and family, as stated above, is true. How do we know that Elizabeth is the same as “widow” Elizabeth? Also, where was the homestead of this Elias Fort? I’ve looked at the Fort family a bit – there’s about four different Eliases, if not more – and I’d like to know. If it’s platted on your map I’ll go back to that and take a look. My main question is, is that grant to Elizabeth Pitman “just above Elas Fort” in modern-day Edgecombe, or Halifax?

        How do we know Elizabeth didn’t get a dower tract? I’ve thought about coincidence, but to me, it would be a heck of a coincidence that they are so very close to William Anderson and some of the other Pitmans. Too close, IMO, to discount as coincidence without further evidence.


        Traci Thompson

        January 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

    • Here we go. The dispute over the creation of Edgecombe County is discussed in:

      Alan D. Watson, Edgecombe County: A Brief History (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1979.)

      Watson, again, has no citations or footnotes, so we’ll also refer to:

      David Leroy Corbitt, The Formation of the North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943 (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1950, 4th printing 1987.) Corbitt discusses the dispute both in his introduction, p. xix, and in the section on Edgecombe County, p. 95. He cites the Colonial Records of North Carolina series, edited by William Saunders.


      Traci Thompson

      January 6, 2012 at 8:52 am

  5. You asked “But I still want to know, how do we know that the one alive at this time was son of Robert?”

    Edgecombe Co., NC, Court Minutes 1744-1762 Book I
    GoldenWest Marketing Genealogy, Temple City, CA
    [187] Feb 1757/8
    Jos. PITMAN son of Robert (Overseer marked out) Constable in Room of George WIMBERLY

    There was only one Robert at that time…. he HAS to be his son.

    But to be more specific to your question… I think I stated previously that the proof for this Joseph Pitman is in my Pages… and I stated it is the most mind-numbing proof that you don’t want to go into… just sayin’

    And think of the military records as a “census”… its all we have that is factual prior to the 1790 census… every man between 16 and 60 HAD to be in the militia… if they were not in the militia they were “too crippled” or “too old or too young”. The clues to figuring out the Pitmans are also in militia rolls.



    January 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    • Getting more confused by the minute…this court record is dated 1757. I thought you were questioning which Josephs were alive in 1787? Just because this Joseph is son of Robert doesn’t mean there aren’t 10 more who aren’t.

      I’m used to mind-numbing, believe me, and I’ve read over the pages, but sorry, I don’t get it. If it’s too much to go into again, can you point me to a specific page/paragraph please?

      Although milita rosters are fabulous records, there are other existing records for the time period. A roster, however, is merely a list of names that doesn’t state any relationship. All the militia roster tells us is that these folks were, as you say, probably between 16 and 60 years old and probably lived in the same area. The relationships between them must be discerned by further evidence.


      Traci Thompson

      January 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

      • I took another look the the “Problem Pitman” page, particularly at Joseph son of Thomas from the Northampton Quaker records.

        Do you have Hugh’s take on that somewhere on this site? I searched but couldn’t find it, so just in case you don’t, here it is:

        Joseph Pitman Family Record
        From the Hugh B. Johnston, Jr. Collection

        Joseph Pitman, son of Thomas Pitman, settled on Tar River in Edgecombe County. He was born on January 11, 1724. He married Elizabeth ______, who was born on January 11, 1724, and died on March 31, 1761.
        Children of Joseph and Elizabeth Pitman
        1.) Faith Pitman was born October 30, 1747.
        2.) Amy Pitman was born on May 2, 1749.
        3.) Elizabeth Pitman was born on January 4, 1752.
        4.) Thomas Pitman was born on January 10, 1754.
        5.) Joseph Pitman, Jr., was born October 8, 1756.
        6.) Abea Pitman was born on March 12, 1758.
        7.) Patience Pitman ws born on September 21, 1760.

        Ruth Smith Williams and Margarette Glenn Griffin, compilers, Bible Records of Early Edgecombe (Rocky Mount, NC: Dixie Letter Service, 1958), p. 204-205.

        Hugh’s use of exact dates make me think perhaps he had access to a family Bible – he was famous for getting people to part with theirs.

        Now, as we know, William Anderson had some interaction with Horns. And we see Amy Pitman, above, supposedly connected to the Thomas Pitman family.

        An Amy Pitman died in Edgecombe in 1791. She wrote a will in November 1790 which was probated February Court 1791. [David Gammon, Abstracts of Wills, Edgecombe County, North Carolina, Volume I: 1732-1792 (Raleigh, NC: Gammon, 1992), p. 64-65, entry # 311.] Her executor was Abishai Horn. The account of the estate sale of Amy Pitman, by Abishai Horn, exr., was returned 26 February 1791. Buyers at the sale were Thos. Pitman, John Pitman, Joseph Pitman, and Ann Horn, which account was returned to the Edgecombe Co. court in February of 1794. Also mentioned are Boykins and Bloodworths.

        So here’s a Joseph Pitman who was indeed alive as of 1794, and who may have been in the area of William Anderson. Of course, this could be son of Robert. but couldn’t either of the two sons mentioned above have had a son named Joseph? And of course any of the eight sons of Thomas could have had Josephs…:) And do we know when the son of Robert died?

        Here’s something interesting. Have you seen this before?

        “Jacob Battle sheriff of Edgecomb Co to Abner Pitman of same. 1 May 1788. John Haywood had obtained a judgment against Joseph Pitman dec’d. for 55 pounds. 100 acres which was part of a grant to Elizabeth Pitman, on the north side of Tar River, joining James Pitman, Etheld. Philips. (witnesses omitted) Feb. Ct. 1789.” [Dr. Stephen E. Bradley, Jr., abstractor, Edgecombe County, North Carolina Deeds, Volume 4: 1786-1794 (Virginia Beach, VA: Bradley, 1994), p. 31, entry # 362-(91).
        I wonder what that was all about?


        Traci Thompson

        January 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

      • The court reference to Robert being the father of Joseph is the only shred of proof I have… that’s it… its all I gots.

        Compare the fellow soldiers names in the militia lists… they are neighbors. Musters were no different then than such similar events today… its human nature to hang with your buds…. I find that very compelling.

        My references to the muster rolls is not to tie Robert to Joseph…. I’m using them primarily to separate the Pitmans. Look at the neighbors of Joseph in Whitehead’s company… they are all northside Tar River. The other group, Benjamin, Moses, Joseph, Gay and Horn are clearly the south Tar River gang.



        January 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

  6. IMO the Joseph that Mr. Johnston chronicled is the guy who lived south of Tar River and was connected to the Gays, Horns, Moses and Benjamin Pitman… see my “map of Edgecombe County”… use Ctrl + to fine tune the zoom function if needed. Our mysterious James Pitman is also close by _OOPS_ I rechecked my notes… this is another disagreement I have with Mr Johnston.. I find no compelling evidence that this Joseph moved to Edgecombe County (also the same birthdate and year for the husband and wife disturbs many people… even tho’ this is supposedly a correct account in the Quaker records)

    William Anderson’s will in November, 1789 creates a problem for the Joseph you cite in the deed above to have signed since he was dead. # 362-(91). Feb. Ct. 1789 (didn’t the Gregorian calendar kick in around 1750?)

    But consider this… the deed you refer to above is referencing the time period of 1788/9…
    Elizabeth Pitman originally sold her property in 1761/2 Was the Joseph and Abner you cite in 1789 the Joseph and Arthur of 1761? … almost a 30 year gap… I would love to track the deeds during that time.

    1761 1 Sep. ELIZABETH PITTMAN of Edgecombe Co. to JOSEPH PITTMAN of same, planter, for £10 Proc. money the 200 acre plantation whereon she then lived, it being part of a tract of land granted to said Elizabeth Pittman by Earl Granville on March 25, 1759[actually 1749]. Wit: Aaron Coleman, Radon Coleman, Stephan Coleman. Deed Book 00, p. 347.
    1761 26 Sep. ELIZABETH PITMAN (mark) of Edgecombe Co. to ARTHUR PITMAN of same, planter, for £10 current money of N.C. a tract of 90 acres on the north side of Tar River adjoining sherwood Haywood, it being a Granville grant to said Elizabeth Pitman dated March 24, 1749. wit: Sherrood Haywood, Hancock Hatcher (mark). Deed Book 1, p. 89.

    1762 20 Sep. ARTHUR PITMAN of Edgecombe Co., planter to JOSEPH PITMAN of same, planter, for £20 Proc. money a tract of 100 acres on the north side of Tar River adjoining ELIZ. PITMAN, John Fountain and Robert coleman. Wit: Wm. (X) Anderson, Handover (X) Hatcher, John Foundain. DB 1, p. 381.

    I would very much like to settle who the “Abner Pitman” is in that 1789 deed. That particular deed drives me nuts. … and who was Arthur Pitman in 1762? He was in Whitehead’s company in the militia rolls of 1750s… along with Joseph and William Anderson.

    I concede that there may be some young Josephs in 1789…. of course…. I’m simply making a “gut” call that the guy who signed William’s will was his contemporary in age. All of the other witnesses were old friends.



    January 6, 2012 at 12:53 pm

  7. I reread my page the “problem Pitman” and it is tedious and a pain to get thru… here is the Cliff Notes:

    1. The youngest son of Thomas Pitman of Meherrin (Joseph) along with his brother Samuel [correction: Sampson] stayed in Southampton County, VA and never came to Edgecombe County.

    2. The “Quaker” Joseph died by 1762 or so.

    3. His son Joseph died by 1787.

    4. The last Joseph left standing in 1789 to sign the will of William Anderson (in his peer group) was the son of Robert Pitman.

    5. If I have missed one… someone please correct me.



    January 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

  8. I agree that the people on the militia list are neighbors and are NS Tar River people.

    Why don’t you think Joseph of Northampton fame moved to Edgecombe? There’s enough Josephs running around here to make me think he did… 🙂

    Re: the Joseph who witnessed William’s will…I know the one in the 1788-ish deed is dead, the deed says so, after all. I was just wondering what the deed was about. You asked me to find one alive at or after William Anderson’s death, and I did; just saying it could be that one.

    I don’t think Abner and Arthur are the same person. The records seem to point to two different people, and Arthur seems earlier. I’d guess the Josephs are two different ones as well, one earlier and one later. Considering the recycling of names, there were probably at least two Arthurs as well. This is a large crowd of folks.

    Thanks for the Cliffs notes, they help! 🙂 I’ll study on that one awhile.

    Now, let me point out something I realized today and get your opinion…back to James Pitman…

    Let’s forget about the Nash Co. land for a minute and just look at the Edgecombe land.

    1742 – patent for 200 acres on NS Tar River and NS Falling Run.

    Undated deed, but registered 1743 – the 200 acres from the 1742 patent is sold to John Stallings.

    May 1744 – deed from Isaac Dickinson to William Dickinson is on NS Tar River joining Falling Run AND joining James Pitman.

    November 1744 – Thomas Brown to James Pitman, 100 acres joining the river, part of Brown’s patent.

    Feb. 1746 – James Pitman to Nathaniel Bradford, 100 acres “more or less” on NS Tar River, “part of a grant to Thomas Brown.”

    1749 – Elizabeth Pitman’s Granville grant is for 300 acres on NS of Tar River “joining James Pitman.”

    Ok, so James *seems* to have sold all his land…but if so, why is it worded to imply that 1.) after buying and selling his 200 acres in 1742/1743, he is mentioned in 1744 as if he still owns land on NS Tar River, and 2.) after buying and selling 100 acres on NS TR, he is still mentioned in 1749 as if he is there? Are there two different James Pitmans? Am I missing something??


    Traci Thompson

    January 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    • re; Joseph of Northampton. I have a document posted of him in 1751 in Southampton, VA. I can’t find him after that but his brother Samuel [correction: not Samuel. I meant Sampson] has records. On the document notice the other folks are Lancasters… they are relatives of his mother (if numerous other researchers, including King have been correct about the wife of his father Thomas). Also the distance from that area of Meherrin (I’m not sure exactly where he was living) was actually closer to Rich Square than was the distance from Tar River to Rich Square. So it is a simple observation and guess on my part. Why is it generally accepted that he moved to Edgecombe? Weigh that against Mr. Johnston’s observation… I truly would like to know the answer.

      See my page “notes & misc” for my map of the Pitman property near Meherrin and Carolus Anderson… it is incomplete which is why I have been hesitant to publish it … my main problem is finding “Little Swamp”.

      See here for records of Southampton, VA a group of Brantley researchers have done a phenominal job of posting the documents…

      re; that irritating deed of 1788/9… when I first ran across it I thought I had an AHA! moment… it has all the ingredients to tie Elizabeth Pitman to other Pitmans and make a connection. Except the one guy I have been on my mission to figure out … “that problem Pitman” that witnessed the will. That Joseph [of the deed] died months before the will… try as I might I can’t make it work. I welcome your thoughts… It obviously points to the Joseph that died 1787 who, I think, I have demonstrated to be of the Moses/Benjamin crowd from the south side Tar River. Or not. It just totally perplexes me.

      re: the James Pitman deeds… hence my quandary also… I can’t write him off as dead and can’t show that he moved. I’m not bothered by the fact he was mentioned in 1749 “as if” he was still there… surveyors just used other deeds for reference regardless whether dead or alive. The only step I can think of now is to follow the leads in Nash County … Also of interest regarding that is my pages to figure out the Ross folks and the connection of a William Pitman that married into that family… its turned out to be another pile of spaghetti to unravel.

      Oh, and just one James Pitman as far as I can see. Actually the name “James” seems rare in the Pitman line at that era.

      as an afterthought… Why is it (if Elizabeth is an Anderson married to James Pitman) that William Anderson is “seemingly” totally left out of her property as if he was an unwanted red-headed bastard? All those Pitman interlopers were all over her property as if THEY had a family interest.



      January 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      • Joseph of Northampton – why couldn’t he have moved to Edgecombe? There was quite a migration pattern from Tidewater VA to the Northampton area and then on into Edgecombe, Pitt, Granville, etc. One thing that I wondered with Hugh’s stuff – the exact dates make me think he saw a Bible or other family record, and I know that Hugh sought out Bibles from local families in this area (Edgecombe/Nash/Wilson, mainly. He had quite a few in his possession when he died, I understand.) So, if that was the case, then the liklihood of the Bible (or whatever family record he saw) being in this immediate area is high, maybe indicating that the family was here. I’ve seen other cases of the family Bible traveling from VA to NC with the migrating family in the 1700s and then being discovered here in the 20th c. Of course, written records can travel between locations in any number of ways and time periods. Just a theory (with merit, IMO.) Not sure I understand the significance of distance between Edgecombe/Rich Square/Meherrin.

        Thanks, I’ll take a look at the Pitman land near Carolus map. Speaking of Carolus, I should have mentioned before…the presence of “Carlos” in William Anderson’s family is a big huge red flag for me. It’s almost certainly a variation/abbreviation of “Carolus,” which is an extremely uncommon name. Surely William is connected in some way to Carolus, regardless of which Elizabeth is which.

        Deed of 1788/89 – well, has the deed led to anything to further enrich our understanding of the relationship between Elizabeth and the Joseph of the deed, whether or not he’s the one who witnessed the will? Has anyone looked into it? As far as who witnessed, my thoughts are that dead folks probably don’t witness, and I’ve already shown that there’s at least one still alive at that time. There could be more. At this point we can assume that a living Joseph Pitman witnessed the will.

        James Pitman – they could have referred to him as if he were living even after he were dead, but usually they do make reference to the deceased as being so. Then again, that may be seen more in local county deeds than in the higher-level land grants and patents. I did look a bit at my Nash County sources but saw no trace of him, and didn’t expect to – remember we haven’t found mention of him past the 1740s, and Nash County was not created unil 1777. That’s a big gap of time. I’ve noticed the lack of Jameses among the Pitmans too. Good observation.

        I don’t even know if I want to look at the Ross family, but I might have to before it’s over.

        Elizabeth’s property – believe me, this is one that has my interest way up. I know that William, if he is illegitimate, could not inherit from whoever his father was. I need to check on inheritance laws regarding mothers, etc. It could be that by the time Elizabeth was ready to start disposing of property, William was already better established than Arthur and Joseph, so she chose to sell it to them. I note too that she did not give deeds of gift; these were land purchases. It was common even for legitimate older children to not be left anything by parents if they already had been given something or had sufficient property, etc. The Pitmans surely were family of some sort and had an interest. Maybe William *was* a red-headed bastard. 🙂


        Traci Thompson

        January 7, 2012 at 10:37 am

  9. Let me add…there could very well be land transactions here not accounted for, unfortunately.


    Traci Thompson

    January 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    • And who better than you to root out those details?



      January 6, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      • LOL, thanks, but I mean unrecorded land transactions, or lost ones. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. 🙂


        Traci Thompson

        January 7, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    • re: the Joseph of Northampton…aka, the son of Thomas Pitman of Meherrin. I “think” that the exact dates of the children of that Joseph were directly quoted in the Quaker records… Mr Johnston may merely have referenced those papers. They are extant.

      re: Carolus… William Byrd II was pretty miffed that Carolus used his “actual” name. Byrd corrected it to “Charles” in the public version of his book. [1728, The Dividing Line Twixt VA & NC] The “secret” book vs the “public” book. And the oddity of the names has also been in the forefront of my curiosity.

      re: Deed of 1788… not to sound snarky (seriously) but you are stating that the Joseph in the deed is dead… which is what I have been saying all along. Again, I think the only Joseph left standing to sign the will of Wm. Anderson 1789 was Joseph the son of Robert. Perhaps I am not responding correctly and you are saying “Marc, good grief, give up on the “will-signing” thing and just address the deed”. From that perspective the Joseph she sold the property to in 1762 may not be the same Joseph in 1788… that is my main point. The “Arthur” in the 1762 deed may be the son of John Pitman of Halifax (I don’t know). But if he is then we have the northern Edgecombe (modern Halifax} folks directly associated with Elizabeth Pitman in 1762. (Which, I think) lends a little credibilty to my thought that the Joseph of the 1762 deed may have been the son of Robert, who you know was John Pitman’s brother and who I think was their sister.

      re: James Pitman (possibly of Nash)… my thought is that he may have left some descendants and left court records identifying him (its an area I haven’t researched)… my avenues of research from SW Florida is limited and the Raleigh Archives folks seem intent on charging me $20 a pop for every scrap of paper I request…. and oddly enough, they are very slow to post stuff on the web… I wish someone would clue them in to how a digital camera works and how cheap it actually is. (unless they really like getting the $20 pops from foreigners like me)

      My Page “the Pitman Ross conundrum map addresses that John Pitman and his son Arthur. That is why I expressed the Ross connection.



      January 7, 2012 at 11:39 am

      • Hinshaw Quaker notes… this is a reference to Joseph Pitman, Henry Horne, and James Ross…

        It does not prove or disprove the question of the “Joseph of Northampton” as you refer to him but it is what I based my take on of the Joseph who is on the South side of Tar River by the Moses and Benjamin Pitman.

        Click to access history1760-1960.pdf

        here is some remarks from 2010…

        Click to access Volume%2010%20Issue%201.pdf

        A subtle point I consider is that Pitman and Horne were considered “Elders” in 1760… its my hunch that the “Joseph of Northampton” was a tad young to have reached that respectable status… Basically I think they were the olde pharts from Tar River.



        January 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      • Oh duh, you’re right…forgot about the Quaker records, bad me. I checked, and yes, its quoted directly from the Rich Square MM records. So forget all my Bible supposition. Interestingly, this is the only Pitman family showing in the Rich Square records. And since you want to know why people think Joseph went to Edgecombe, this might clear it up…from William Wade Hinshaw’s Encycopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. 1, reprint (Baltimore MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969; originally Ann Arbor, MI, 1936), p. 256:

        1760, 9, 6. Joseph co. [chosen overseer]
        1761, 5, 2. Joseph co. [chosen overseer]
        1776, 11, 16. Joseph, of Edgecomb Co., dis [disowned for] proposing m [marriage] to one outside of Society.

        Of course, this might be Joseph Jr. and not Sr. – or Joseph II instead of Joseph I – which one are we talking about again?? :\

        Yep, I’ve run across the info on Carolus & Byrd whilst reading about Northampton parishes. Regardless of Byrd’s attitude, it was a great bit of info and I’m thankful he included it in his writings. Perhaps Carolus’ parents were very happy to be in Carolina?

        Deed of 1788…yeah, I think it’s a communication issue. 🙂 We agree Joseph of the deed is dead…what I’m really trying to express that there are so many Pitmans running around that there could be multiple Josephs still alive, not just the son of Robert.. and how do we know that the son of Robert *was* still alive?? The property transactions should give clues as to whether Joseph of 1762 and 1788 are the same. I’ll add that to my extremely long list of things to look into.

        James…that’s a good thought, but we’d have to overcome the 30-year gap in order to tie someone to him, and during those 30 years the area is still Edgecombe. I’m going to check my Nash sources again just in case, though.

        The Archives…I understand the frustration, but like many libraries and archives, they’ve had cuts to budget, staff, and hours. Sometimes political types do not consider the preservation of history to be a top priority. We’re blessed that things aren’t worse.


        Traci Thompson

        January 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

  10. some thoughts on Elias Fort…

    My take is there were two early ones. One in modern Halifax Co near, I think, Looking Glass Sw. Some very interesting research can be found at Bob Baird’s website. He is under my “Blogroll”.

    I’ve tried a couple of times to harass Mr Baird into chronicling the Fort family… he threatens to do it and I don’t have enough money to bribe him…. so I took a shot myself at the Elias Fort that moved more south to Tar River…. my take can be found on my “Page” for Elias… comments are welcome.

    I did not plot his property on my Edgecombe map because the info I have does not have the survey details…darn it… but Traci, you gave me some clues a few years ago concerning Teat’s Bridge and some notes of a gentleman of TarBoro researching the old church around there… those thoughts are why I say he was living just below the Elizabeth Pitman property… I think his was on the River.

    Actually, and I don’t have a link, but an article may still be available on the web about that early church. You might do a google search and find it.



    January 7, 2012 at 9:10 am

    • I checked my notes and Shazam! John Pitman of Halifax had a wife Elizabeth and she could be the woman buying the trinkets at the estate sale in 1744…. or not.



      January 7, 2012 at 9:34 am

    • Thanks…I’m more knowledgeable of the later Eliases in Halifax.


      Traci Thompson

      January 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm

  11. Now that I’ve got you hooked… I would like to express my appreciation again that you stopped by. I have been waiting for a couple years for a worthy opponent to step up to the plate and critique my “weird bastard kid theory”. Before I assume room temperature, I would love to crack the case of who the parents were of my GGGGGrandfather William Anderson. Please don’t be a stranger.



    January 7, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    • I am hooked! I had no idea this was such an interesting and complex family before getting involved. I’m not sure what direction I will end up going in – and there are many to choose from, as you know! – but I would love to know who William’s parents are too. I hold out hope that DNA can still prove useful. Thanks for putting all your information and ideas out here – sharing can only be beneficial.


      Traci Thompson

      January 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm

  12. Perhaps someone can goad Forrest King into weighing in… he’s done an impressive job on the Pit[t]mans.



    January 7, 2012 at 2:03 pm

  13. On the Northampton Josephs…as Joseph Jr. was born 1752-ish, Joseph the elder is probably Joseph the elder. Ha ha.


    traci thompson

    January 9, 2012 at 10:47 am

    • Groan… I would have said that if I’d thunkit… LOL



      January 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

  14. Is anyone on this site interested in helping a frustrated Stallings? I trace through Gregory Stallings (abt 1708 – aft 1766), father of John Stallings Sr.(abt 1733 -1780), father of John Stallings Jr.(abt 1757 -1786) who married Martha Anderson.

    Looking for documentation of John Jr.’s birth and deathage to Martha (I do have copy of Wm Anderson will stating “Martha Stallings m. Jn Stallings”), birth dates of their children, ( I have docs proving land transfers to William from his father John Stallings).

    I also want to clear up if John Stallings Jr. was in the Revolutionary War. I have several docs for John Stallings – pay vouchers from Edenton District – and Land Grant docs plus a John Stallings name appears on a list of militia of Edgecombe Co.

    Any takers? Hope so! Thank you!


    Donna Cline

    August 4, 2019 at 7:57 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: