Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

Hugh B. Johnston’s problem with “the problem Pitman”

with 9 comments

Joseph Pittman, son of Thomas Pittman, was born on January 11, 1724-
1725, and settled in lower Edgecombe County. His wife Elizabeth was
born on January 11, 1724 (?) and died on March 31, 1761. They were
members of the Rich Square Monthly Meeting of the Quaker Society by
September 6, 1760, but he was on November 16, 177- “dismissed for
proposing marriage to one outside of the Society.: (This reference
could have been to Thomas Pittman, Jr.)

Children of Joseph and Elizabeth Pittman:

Faith Pittman was born on October 30, 1747.
Amy Pittman was born on May 2, 1749.
Elizabeth Pittman was born on January 4, 1752.
Thomas Pittman, Jr., was born on October 8, 1756.
Abia Pittman was born on March 12, 1758.
Patience Pittman was born on September 21, 1760.

There were quite a few Pitmans or Pittmans living in Edgecombe County
by 1760, but no one appears to have worked out all their
relationships. Joseph Pitman the Quaker, witnessed the will of Moses
Pitman on March 24, 1759. One Joseph Pitman made his will on
December 18, 1786, and another on October 9, 1762, but the lists of
legatees do not indicate that either was the father of the above

Hugh Johnston
Rocky Mount Telegram
June 6, 1958

 That Joseph Pitman (the one Mr Johnston refers to) never settled in lower Edgecombe County(my theory). He is last accounted for in Southampton, VA in 1751.
The references to the Lancasters in the below document are references to relatives of his mother.
There were two other Joseph Pitmans in lower Edgecombe who were Quakers… one died 1763… his son, also a Quaker,
died in 1787.

One of the Edgecombe Josephs also signed with a “J”:  

1758       24 Nov. William Green of Edgecombe Co. to Joseph Pitman of same, for £3 a tract of 90 acres on the south bank of Tar River at the mouth of Deep Branch adjoining said Pitman. Wit: Joseph (J) Pitman, Jesse Green.

If I am going to be proved wrong this will be the deed… this seems to be the “son” witnessing the deed of the father… but the will of Joseph d.1787 is signed “x”.  [see footnote]

But to quote Mr. Johnston “but the lists of legatees do not indicate that either was the father of the above children” (the Southampton Joseph).  … a little help here?

Joseph d.1763 also went to the Rich Square MM but he was an “Elder” in 1760.  The Southampton Joseph b.1724 would be age 36… does that sound likely?

The only other Joseph Pitman in Edgecombe County of that age group was the son of Robert Pitman who was the brother of the Joseph Pitman

that flummoxed Mr. Johnston.  And just as an aside… I love reading his folksy articles and think he contributed mightily to genealogy.

Abstracts of Deeds Edgecombe Precinct, Edgecombe Co NC, As Found In Halifax Co, NC, Public Registry, Deed Books 1-6, 1732-1758, Hoffman, Margaret M

1750 10 Feb – Joseph Pitman bought 240 acres from John Gay on Tar River for 35 pounds joining a branch and Gary. wit. Moses Pitman, Joseph Pitman.

1756 14 May – Joseph Pitman, Sr. sold land to Joseph Pitman, Jr. 90 acres on Tar River, joining a branch, John Gay and the River. Wit. Moses Pitman, John Gay

1758  24 Nov. William Green of Edgecombe Co. to Joseph Pitman of same, for £3 a tract of 90 acres on the south bank of Tar River at the mouth of Deep Branch adjoining said Pitman. Wit: Joseph (J) Pitman, Jesse Green.  DB 00, p.?  source needs verified

(this is the son buying property and the father is witness)

In the Name of God Amen I Joseph Pittman…Edgecombe… sick and weak…

First…Soul to God… buried in decent manner… debts paid…

Imprimus… wife and children my Estate to be equally divided except

land “which I give and bequeath to my beloved Son Jethro”…

Rest of Estate to wife Ann and children Ann, Jethro and Cloe…

Item: wife Ann and Daniel Ross “whole and Sole” Executors…

9, Oct. 1762

Joseph (J) Pittman

James Horn

Jacob Pitman (son of Benjamin Pitman)

Mary (X) Green

(abstract: Marc Anderson)


 Edgecombe Co., NC, Court Minutes 1744-1762 Book I & II, GoldenWest Marketing Genealogy, Temple City, CA….. Minute Books III & IV, Haun

1763   Ann Pitman appointed Guardian to Ann, Jethro & Chloe Pitman, orphans of Joseph Pitman deceased.

Joseph Pitman Guardian of Thomas Pitman orphan of Joseph Pitman deceased.

by 1773 Chloe is the only child still under Guardianship… for that reason I estimate the birth of Thomas about 1752.  Ann & Jethro a bit earlier.


Joseph Pitman, Sr    b.unk d.1763, wife (sister of John Gay)

….. Joseph Jr  b. prior to 1736  (perhaps a prior mother?)

….. Ann  b. say 1749

…..  Jethro b. say 1751

….. Thomas b. say 1752

….. Chloe b. say 1753

(it is tempting to say Ann Gay was the wife of Joseph Pitman Sr, however see this deed of 1763 the same time an “Ann” assumed the Guardianship: 

1763   22 Sep. ANN PITMAN, widow, of Edgecombe Co. to JACOB PITTMAN of same, for £12 lawful money of NC all of her right and title in a plantation on the south side of Tar River and on Buck Swamp, left to her for her lifetime by the will of her deceased husband, BENJAMIN PTTMAN. Wit: John Faulk, Aaron Baker. DB D, p. 95,)… her son Jacob witnessed the will of Joseph Sr and hence, there were obviously close ties and this Ann could plausibly be the guardian.)

Written by anderson1951

January 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses

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  1. Marc, a few questions… first, which one is “that” Joseph Pitman, and how do you know he never came to Edgecombe? How do you know the Southampton Joseph is the same person?

    My understanding of Hugh is that he thought the Joseph(s) of Northampton came to Edgecombe, but he was surprised that the two that left wills in Edgecombe have heirs that do not match the Rich Square Joseph’s family record. As I’ve mentioned, it does appear that daughter Amy died in Edgecombe.


    Traci Thompson

    January 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

    • Consider this…
      Th. Pitman of Meherrin had son Joseph (b. 1724)…. this is who Mr Johnston is referring to.

      Wm. Pitman of Meherrin also had a son Joseph … this is who I am referring to… (also Forrest King, I think)

      starting to make sense? I think this has confused everyone for years. And I can’t prove he never came to Edgecombe… its just the only option that makes sense… and it also explains the missing kids. Or to take another tack… the Southampton Joseph doesn’t seem to have left ANY records in Edgecombe so why does anyone think he moved there in the first place?



      January 11, 2012 at 9:28 am

      • Ok, thanks, that helps…two Josephs. Where on Meherrin? ‘S a long river. 🙂

        Why is it the only option that makes sense? (I’m assuming that statement was about Joseph son of Thomas?) Which one is Southampton Joseph?


        Traci Thompson

        January 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      • See my map…

        Look for the red line to find Thomas Pitman the father of the “Southampton Joseph” he was his youngest son… also brother of Robert Pitman who relocated to Halifax Co. I actually used the survey distances from the records of William Byrd II to plot the land of Carolus Anderson. Thomas P. willed some land to Joseph but he sold it… not sure where he wound up after 1751… he just disappears. The brother Sampson stays in Southampton longer (I think he leaves more records…haven’t pursued him). This map is certainly not precise but it gives the rough area.



        January 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    • I revised the post to clarify “that”….



      January 11, 2012 at 9:52 am

  2. I think I short-changed you in a prior response to a question that also applies here… you stated:

    “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?”

    I’m not sure who the Amy is? But a Red Flag for me to identifying the “suspect” family group (in 1791) is that one of the buyers at the estate sale is William Faulk. He was the son-in-law of Joseph Pitman d.1787 (the Quaker). At this sale also is Thomas Pitman (who”I speculate” is the son of the Elder Joseph Pitman who was left as an orphan and shows up in the court minutes) Joseph Price was also a buyer and he had property southside Tar River on Buck sw… pretty much in the back yard of the Quaker Josephs.

    And I give you kudos for showing me a Joseph Pitman indeed alive just after 1789… but do you think this Joseph in 1791 is in the same age group as William Anderson d.1789 and possibly witnessed his will? It seems to me all the folks surrounding the will are old?



    January 11, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    • Darn it… and thanks for the input of this Amy Pitman (I was not aware of her).
      According to the Quaker birth records, she was b. 1749, a daughter of Joseph Pitman b. 1724.
      Common sense says she never married and left her estate in 1791. Of course it begs the question if this is mere coincidence and she was a widow of a Pitman.

      The signature mark of (J) is a conflict that I have to tap dance around and can’t resolve.

      Hugh Johnston offered his opinion but had doubts.
      Forrest King (and I’m not trying to put words in his mouth) basically threw his hands in the air concerning these “problem Josephs”.
      I say this Joseph of 1724 stayed in Southampton.

      Somewhere in the mix is the truth and I think we are getting close.



      January 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm

  3. I updated the post with a footnote… Bottom line… the Edgecombe Joseph is having children at the same time as the Southampton Joseph… two different people.

    Unless… Naw…Quakers weren’t polygamists were they? (smiling)

    … round for the house on me.



    January 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm

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