Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

Jumping to conclusions…

with one comment

I’m guilty.  I’ve had to eat crow lately and it has caused me to slow down and rethink things. As an example:

The 1716 James Anderson (of Occonechee Swamp near Halifax) sells out about 1722 or so and apparently moves to Bath County. Somewhere along the way I developed the theory that it was possible he wound up in Tarboro around 1754… and probably dies soon after. It all made perfect sense to me and I simply dropped the hunt for lack of evidence… in other words… “case closed” in my mind.

Now I am considering…Wait a minute… what if the 1754 in Tarboro was a young man? Duh!

The lack of evidence in Edgecombe County from say, 1750 to 1790 is frustrating. But it does not discount the fact that there were several ANDERSONS living there. Everything starts to fall in place with the 1790 US Census. It is still the usual jigsaw pieces that we have to put together.

The earliest “family lore” I have found is this account from a descendant born in the 1800s:

May 13, 1959 (Hugh B. Johnston article)


(This traditional account of William Anderson, 1732-1789, was written by Mrs. A.C. Davis of Rocky Mount.)

“William Anderson…came to Edgecombe about 1732…by old records a Scotsman who did not want to fight England, along with more Scotch in the county, his son James having a store at Tarborough when it was only a ferry and warehouse to collect Quit Rents for the Lords Proprietors or Earl Granville.”

Hmmm… maybe she was on to something… maybe she had been told this at some point by an even older descendant? I have always discounted this because the “son” James, of this William Anderson, was born, more likely, around 1758 or so. Too young.

What if James (of Tarboro) was a brother?

William Anderson b. unknown, d. 1789

First appears in Edgecombe County, NC with a survey in 1752.

Survey-William Anderson-1752

4th april 1752

May 5th 1753. Then laid out unto William Anderson 240 Acres of Land in

Edgecomb County Joyning the Lands of Andrew Ross and Widow Pittman

beginning at a white Oak on Ross line Runing thence Et. 272 Pole

to a Pine then So. 142 Pole to a White Oak on Widow Pittman line

then along her line Wt. 80 pole to a white Oak and Gum then So. Wt. 66 pole

to hers and Price’s Corner a pine then along Prices line N. 65 W. 122 pole

to a White Oak Price’s Corner N. 25 Wt. along the Stream? to Lawrace

Corner a White Oak then the Same Course to Ross Corner 150 Pole the first

Station Containing 240 Acres as the above figure Represents

Sworn Chain Carriers Laid out pr

Arthur Anderson Jam.s Conner

James Anderson

This James in 1752 has always dumbfounded me to explain… (also the Arthur)… but my hunch was always as “brothers”.

And there is no doubt that there was a James in Tarboro at this time of this document (1754-1758):

James A_merchant

North Carolina—Edgcombe County. To His Excellency Arthur Dobbs Esqr Capt General Governor and Commander In Cheafe in and over the Province afsd; and To His Majestys Honorable Counsell: Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgises The Petition of the Inspectors and Marchants of the town of Tarr Burrow In the county afsd Whose names are under written Humbly Sheweth that the Salary that is by Law allowed to each Inspector is not a Suffiant Sum for thare troble and featage as they are at and thare Fore We Humbly Pray that the Salary may be Inlarged so as to Put us on an Equality with the Inspectors at the Town of Halifax and We your Petetioners as In Duty Bound shall ever pray, &c.

So… this William Anderson, b. unknown, d. 1789 was not on the 1790 Census… but his wife Mourning was.

And there is a James Anderson on the 1790 Census. Could this be the same James? And could he still be a merchant in Tarboro?

Anderson, James…………………………..1-0-1-0-0 (actually there are 2 James… both the same count)

1st # free white males 16 year upwards and head of families
2nd # free white males under 16 years
3rd # free white females and head of families
4th # all other free persons
5th # slaves


Consider the above “merchants of Tarboro“… one of the signatures is Edward Telfair.  I did a bit of research a while ago and realized Telfair went on to become governor of Georgia.  I did not find anything relevant at the time.

Now I find this article by Claiborne T. Smith, Jr, wherein he details some history for this guy and his brothers.

Of particular interest is this…   “On her husband’s death, Paulina Telfair was left with five small children. She went to live with her mother-in-law, Mrs. Margaret Blair Telfair, in Scotland and eventually obtained a small pension from the British government. In 1798 she and her family returned to North Carolina and bought a small property near Tarboro. She was still living in 1816, when she sold her land in Edgecombe and moved to Pitt County.”

In the 1810 Edgecombe Census is an entry for a William Anderson… and directly above his name is Paulina Telfair.  I think that this William in 1810 is also a merchant in Tarboro.


He appears to have a lot in Tarboro…
253-(199) William Anderson of the town of Tarborough to John Womble of same. 23 Oct 1798. £75. A fourth of lot 15 in the town of Tarborough, fronting St Georges Street.
262-(205) Sally(x)Patterson & Sukey(x)Patterson, both of the town of Tarborough in Edgecome Co, to William Anderson of same. 23 Jan 1798. 35 silver dollars. Lot 15 in the town of Tarborough.
544-(474) James Ferguson of Edgecombe Co to William Anderson of same. 15 Mar 1800. £20. Lot 4 in the town of Tarborough, half of the sd lot fronting on St Georges Street.

Consider the 1800 Census…

If the William (1) is this Town William, then he appears to be designated as a “Senior”…. meaning one of two things.  1. He is the oldest William Anderson around or possibly, 2. He also has a son William.   Note the age of this 1800 William “Sen”… to 45 (with a son to 26).   My hunch is this older William dies before 1810.  Which leaves the grandson William in 1810.

1800 census


I think the other two William Andersons of the 1800 Census are the sons of William Anderson who died 1789.  Other siblings of Wm.1789 are James, George, Rachel and his widow Mourning (Price) Anderson.  One of these Henrys’ is probably the one who died 1801 (TR… perhaps Tar River?). The remaining Henry (Cokey)… perhaps Cokey Road is “perhaps” another son of Wm d.1789.


Written by anderson1951

December 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I really like this site and my old address was is now


    N. Jean Howell Markstrom

    February 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm

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