Documentary History of Thomas Swan (SWANN) Edwards (C.1763 - 1835) of Virginia and Wake County, NC
Introduction: Documentation traces the Edwards family to Thomas Swan Edwards (c.1763 – 1836). What is uncertain is the parentage of Thomas. Some family trees, citing SAR and DAR applications and other family trees, state his father and mother as Thomas Edwards and Elizabeth Fauntleroy. However, these claims are not supported by a paper trail. And in the example below, (taken from a SAR application) the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Fauntleroy Edwards is probably a different Thomas Edwards.
Thomas Swan Edwards was most likely of humble origins. No wills from Virginia have yet been found to list him as a benefactor. But there is always hope that one may turn up.
His name offers clues. Was his middle name of Swan from his mother’s side? A 1722 marriage record for a Thomas Edwards and Sarah Swan gave me hope. Perhaps, this couple were grandparents of Thomas Swan. But, as it turns out, Sarah was a widow and she bore her late husband’s name. It would be odd that Thomas Swan would be given his middle name from this marriage. But his Swan name is an angle still worthy of research.
Thomas Swan Edwards first appeared as a single individual in 1784 in Surry County, VA. A year later he married Neomi Crocker. In 1787, he purchased land in Isle of Wight, a county adjacent to Surry. By 1813, he signed a land deed in Wake County in North Carolina. And on the 1830 US census, he appears as a small independent farmer, surrounded by his sons and their respective families.
In early 1836, his widow applied for a year’s support. This suggests that her husband died the previous year.
The following is, to borrow a term from Phil Upchurch, a current Biofile of J. Michael Edwards’ 5th great-grandfather, Thomas Swan Edwards. I hold out hope that there is still more to discover about him.
(Clicking on the green links will bring up the documents)
(1) 2 Feb 1785 Register of Marriages – Surry County and Marriage Bond, Isle of Wight County, Parish of Southwark
Thomas Swan Edwards (Groom), Neomi Crocker “of age” (Wife) , William Wills (Bondsman with Thomas Swan Edwards, Josiah Gray, Benjamin A Walker (Security and Witnesses)
1. There are no parents listed for either Groom or Wife. Interestingly, there was a Samuel (married Ann Holleman Dec. 1777, died in Johnston County NC) and a William Crocker (m. 1783) who were also married in Surry County. They did not list a parent either. Perhaps the three Crockers are related.
2. Due to a fire, there are no church records to pursue for the Southwark Parish which sadly might have held more information for the Edwards and Crocker families.
3. Some Ancestry family trees have Neomi Crocker as being born in Connecticut. This is a different Neomi Crocker, who married and lived out her days in Connecticut.
(2) 22 Feb 1785 (date returned) – List of White Souls and Dwellings..Surry County VA Precinct 7
This document lists the following with the surname of Edwards living in this precinct:
Wm. (Croutches, actually Crouches, Creek) 7 White Souls, 1 Dwelling, 6 Out Buildings
Thomas S. 1 White Soul
Jane 4 White Souls, 1 Dwelling
Thomas 4 White Souls, 1 Dwelling, 4 Out Buildings
Lewis 3 White Souls, 1 Dwelling, 2 Out Buildings
Jesse 1 White Soul
Wm. Edwards 3 White Souls, 1 Dwelling
Note: This “census” was returned on 22 Feb 1785 and likely recorded earlier. If recorded prior to Thomas S. and Neomi Crocker Edwards’ marriage of 2 Feb 1785, this would account for Thomas S. Edwards listing of “one white soul”.
Question: What, if any, relationship exists among the Edwards listed on this form? Is William of Crouches Creek the father of the other Edwards?
1785 - Thomas Swan Edwards mentioned in Surry County Court Records
(3) 15 April 1787 – Isle of Wight County (VA) Deed Book
Between William Harris of the Isle of Wight County, Newport Parish, of the first part, and Thomas Swan Edwards of the same county and parish, of the second part. Harris transfers 100 acres of land to Thomas Swan Edwards for the sum of five shillings.
(4) 1805 - Taxable Property in Cap't Hunter's or Swift Creek
First time Thomas S. Edwards is listed in tax forms for Swift Creek! It is worth noting that the names of Seagraves, Jones et al are found. These families would interact through marriage etc..
(5) 16 Oct 1813 - Land Grants v, K, 1785-1862 Deeds, v, Q - R 1799-1803
Between William Utley, son of John, and Drury Boteright (?), both of Wake County, NC, and Thomas S. Edwards of the same location. Utley and Boteright confer unto Edwards, 100 acres of land residing on the waters of Camp Branch….
No records exist for Wake County in 1820 US Census. Also, several deed books were destroyed in register’s office fire in 1832.
(6) PERSONAL PAPERS OF FOUR GENERATIONS OF SWIFT CREEK AREA FARMERS IN WAKE COUNTY WHO FARMED LAND PURCHASED BY NATHANIEL (MC) JONES FROM JESSE JENT IN 1804, AND LAND FROM MINTON JONES ABOUT 1818. Thomas Swan Edwards and his sons are found listed on these papers, mostly land transactions, beginning 1815. Other families of interest, Jones, Segraves et al can be found as well.
(7) 1830 US Federal Census for Thomas Swan Edwards and sons James, Swan Jr, and Joseph
Page One – James is listed as between 40 to 50 years old, Swan Jr as 20 to 30, Swan Sr as 60 to 70, and Joseph as 30 to 40. Neomi is seen on this census as being between 60 and 70 years old. There is also a female between 15 and 20 in Thomas Swan Edwards' household. Not sure if this is his daughter, a granddaughter, or some other type of relationship.
Page Two – Thomas Swan Edwards Jr owns a slave, the only one of the four Edwards to list any slaves.
(8) 7, 14, 21 Jan 1836 – Weekly Standard, Raleigh NC - List of Letters Remaining at Raleigh Post Office the First Day of Jan. 1st
Thomas S. Edwards
Note: Thomas Swan Edwards oldest son was named James.
(9) February – 12 May 1836 - North Carolina Estate Files, 1663-1979
Beginning during the February term of this court, Neomi (Crocker) Edwards petitioned for a commission to be appointed that would award her and her family, a year’s support from the estate of Thomas S. Edwards (dec’d). In May, this commission would appoint Neomi Edwards a sum of $46.25.
1. It is stated in the documents that Thomas S. Edwards died-----------last. This suggests that he died in the year 1835, although no month or day is given.
3. Both Thomas Swan Edwards (5th great-grandfather) and James (4th great-grandfather) died in 1835.