Sunday, October 28, 2007

James Lea of Kilgore's Branch

James Lea of Kilgore's Branch
Gloucestor District of North Hico


Birth date of James Lea is unknown as are his parents.  If he was the underage (14) orphan son of John Lea and his wife Ann in 1731 Spotsylvania County, Virginia,  his birth can be estimated.  Yet, there is no proof that he was that son nor is there proof that John Lea's sons, William, John and James are the same as those who migrated to North Carolina.   Keeping in mind that the orphan son of John Lea was under 14 in 1731:

6 Aug 1745: Spotsylvania County, VA: there were recorded two deeds of interest to this study. James Lea, John Graves and Joseph Brock were witnesses to the first of these. It was for John Pain and Frances, his wife, to John Talburt for 100 acres. The other was of adjacent property transferred by John Talburt and Margaret his wife to Jeremiah Stevens, 36 acres on Cattail swamp on the Mattaponi River, joining the lands of Joseph Brock and near the Samms plantation.

1750: Five years later James Lea was a witness to the deed of sale of most of this land to James Samms by James Stevens and his wife Alice. The other witness was James Chapman (John G. Herndon source).

1 Sept 1752: James Lea and William Lea (wife Frances) in Spotsylvania County, Virginia., are: "William Lea of Spotsylvania County, and Frances, his wife, to Thomas White of the same County, [pounds sterling sign] 55 currency. 100 a. whereon said. Lea lives and part of a pat. belonging to said. Thomas White in Spotsylvania County, " [Deed Book E, 1751-1761, September. 1, 1752] [Crozier's
Spotsylvania County, Records, p. 19; [ed. note: Was this James Lea KB or James Lea CL?  We do not know.  Nor is there a record or proof for Frances Lea's maiden name).

"The division of the 100 acres in Virginia on the Mattaponi, near Madison's Mill in King & Queen Co., left by William LEA to his four children helps to define the linkage of this line of LEAS. James "Kilgore" LEA was probably the last surviving heir of this legacy following the sudden death in 1762 of William "Cobbs Creek" Lea".   This writer will not enter the fray of speculation.  There is no proof, but theories abound.

5 March 1753: James Lea and Ann, his wife, sold 200 acres in Spotsylvania to James Chapman. [ed. note:  Annie's maiden name is unknown. Her name in this document is Ann and not Annie.  Some theorist have said Talburt or Talbot, but truth be known - even the oldest records do not substantiate or support any one of the theories]. This is likely the time they moved to the area now known as Caswell/Person County

[Lea Family Research for Dr. Cynthia Forde, Raquel Lindaas, Heritage Consulting, Inc. 2006] proving that this James Lea was not James Lea of Country Line Creek in Orange County, NC by March of 1752.

1768: Sheriff of Orange County, North Carolina.

1776: Methodist Circuit Rider Josiah Asbury, stays in his home, on his circuit travels. [cf: Appendix I: The Descendants of James Lea, Kilgore’s Branch Research Reports by Betty Fitzgerald]

1776: It is not probable that James Lea of Kilgore's Branch served in the Revolutionary War.   The N.S.D.A.R. will no longer accept applicants on a military service for James Lea of Kilgore’s Branch. His son, James Jr reportedly did serve in the North Carolina Militia.  The DAR applications have the two James Leas confused showing the father as JLKB and right children but James Lea Country Line as James Lea, Jr. who made a will in 1771, died in Tennessee on 2 June 1788 and the will probated in Caswell County 1792.  

Bef. 1777: Tax List Appearance as James (Kilgore's Branch) Lea:

[The following is from The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor [1985] at 351 [Article #437, "James Lea" by Katharine Kerr Kendall]:

"It was disappointing to read years of the Caswell County Court minutes, to have published 2 volumes of wills and probates of Caswell, and to have examined every estate file on the Lea family at the NC State Archives and to have found no probates for James Lea of Kilgore's Branch. The progenitor of the Lea family of Leasburg was in the area before 1777 as he appears on the tax list as James (Kilgore's Branch) Lea. In 1778 he entered 600 acres land on both sides of East Fork of Kilgore's Branch of North Hyco Creek. Kilgore Branch may have been the dividing line of Richmond and Gloucester Districts for on the 1784 tax list he was in Gloucester District owning 470 acres. In 1783 he had deeded land to his son Gabriel and in same year sold land to Thomas Evans. He lived just south of present Leasburg."]

The following is from Report of Research on the Lea Family in Virginia & North Carolina Before 1800, Ben L. Rose [1984] at 124-125:

James Lea of Kilgore's Branch, by Ben L. Rose

“We can identify this James Lea in 1777 when he appears on a Caswell Co tax list as "James Lea [Kilgore Bra.]" and on Aug 21, 1778 when a survey was ordered for him for 587 acres in Caswell Co "on both sides of the east fork of Kilgore’s Branch joining the line of William Moore and Thomas Kilgore". On the same date [Aug 21, 1778] he entered a claim for 600 acres "on both sides of Kilgores's Branch". The record mentions "improvements" which James had made on the land, so he had apparently occupied the land for some time before this date.

As indicated earlier in this Item, many persons settled on land in the Granville District before 1763 when the Land Offices were closed following the death of Lord Granville, but they did not receive a grant for their land until the offices opened again in 1778. James Lea was apparently one of these. Also, many of the records of early Orange Co NC are missing, having been damaged when they were buried to hide them from General Cornwallis, who for a time made his headquarters in Hillsboro, the county seat. As a result, we cannot be sure when this James Lea first settled in Orange Co NC on Kilgore’s Branch. On Jun 17, 1783 James Lea sold 276 acres "on both sides of Kilgores Branch of North Hico" to [and this is the way the deed reads:] "Gabriel [his son"]. So we know that this James Lea had a son named Gabriel. On the same date he also sold 327 acres "on both sides of Kilgore’s Branch" to Thomas Evans.”

9 March 1778: James Lea owned land on Kilgore’s Branch, bordering Thomas Kilgore’s Land.

18 May 1778: James Lea, Sr. entered deeds near William Moore and Thomas Kilgore.[rsb James Lea, Sr .is in deed record]

18 Mar. 1779: William Lea, son of James Lea, Sr., entered three hundred and fifty acres near Thomas Kilgore, which would be in the area of Kilgore’s branch.[1]

29 Oct 1782: James Lea, Sr. received state land grant for 600 acres on both sides of east fork of Kilgore’s Branch, adjacent William Lea, Thomas Kilgore, William McDaniel, William Moore & Thomas Langley.

17 Jun 1783: James Lea sold to Thomas Evans 327 acres on both sides of Kilgore’s Branch of North Hyco, adjacent William Moore, John Johnston, James Sargent, Abraham Fulkerson.

17 Jun 1783: James Lea, Sr. to his son, Gabriel Lea, 260 acres on both sides of Kilgore’s Branch of North Hico, adjacent William McDaniel, Widow Gibson, Abraham Fulkerson, Thomas Evans, William Moore.

13 Oct 1783: William Lea received a state land grant on South Hico Creek adjacent Thomas Langley, James Johnston, John Cooper, George Huston, Timothy Burgess, Thomas Kilgore.

13 Oct 1783: Herndon Harralson received a state land grant on Fishing Branch of Adams Creek, adjacent Robert Huston, Henry Horley, Elkanah Harralson, John Barnett, Thomas Aspin.[This helps to locate the property of James Lea, Sr. since Harralson and Barnett were neighbors.]

24 Nov 1783: William Lea sold to Anderson Ashburn 292 acres on South Hyco adjacent Thomas Langley, James Johnston, Cooper, George Huston, Timothy Burgess, Thomas Kilgore.

5 Jan 1784: James Lea, Jr. purchased from John Cooper, Sr. 345 acres on South Hico adjacent his old corner, William Glen, crossing Cooper’s Branch.

16 March 1784 - A power of attorney was drawn by a man named James Lea to obtain 25 acres of property left to him by his father, William Lea. [Researchers differ on which James Lea signed this power of attorney. Phelps and James Lea KB were attorney and client.  Ben Rose believed this to be James Lea of Cobb's Creek.  

"Book B, Page 36, Caswell County Records. State of North Carolina --
"Know all men by these presents that I James Lea [the son and heir of William Lea, decd] of the County of Caswell, have constituted, made and appointed my true and trusty friend Thomas Phelps of the County and State aforesaid, my true and lawful attorney for me, my name and stead, to ask, demand, sue for in law, so as to obtain and good, lawful, right and title to a certain tract of parcel of land lying in King and Queen County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, containing 25 acres on the waters of Matiponi River, lying near Madison's Mill, which said land fall to me by the line of heirship, and upon receipt of recovery of such land as aforesaid, I do hereby impower him to contract, make sale and dispose of said land, and sign, seal and execute lawfully to any person whatsoever a good and authentic deed of conveyance in fee simple and also all and everything needful and necessary whatever to be done touching the above premises, I do include and perform as fully largely and amply to all intents and purposes as myself might or could do if I was personally present. In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this the 16th day of March Anno Dom. 1784. In the year of American Independence.”
"Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of: H. Haralson, Jurate, William Lea, James Lea. The above letter of attorney was duly proved in open court by oath of Herndon Haralson, one of the witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. A. C. Murphy, C. C."
An abstract of this power of attorney refers to 35 acres:
Caswell County, North Carolina
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions
March Court 1784
Will Book B, Page 36

“Letter of Attorney: James Lea [the son and heir of William Lea, decd.] of Caswell County to Thomas Phelps of same county to "ask, demand, sue for as to obtain lawful title to tract of land in King and Queen County, Va., 35 acres on waters of Matiponi River near Maddison's Mill, said land falls to me by Heirship." 16 Mar 1784. Wit: H. Haralson, William Lea.”

[Source: Caswell County North Carolina Will Books 1777-1814, 1784 Tax List and Guardians' Accounts 1794-1819, Katharine Kerr Kendall [1979] at 14.]

16 Jul 1784: James Lea sold to Henry Cooper 340 acres on South Hico adjacent Cooper, James McCarver, James Johnson.

1786: Herndon Haralson sold to James Currier 78 acres on north side of South Hico, adjacent George Huston, Currier’s line, Timothy Burgess.

Oct 1786: William Lea purchased from Joshua Carney 88 acres on Kilgore’s Branch, which property he bought from Abram Fulkerson, Thomas Evans, James Lea.

11 Oct 1786: Gabriel Lea purchased from John Asborn 50 acres on North Hico, adjacent Thomas Kilgore; James Lea and H. Haralson witnessed.

16 Jun 1787: William Lea purchased from Abram Fulkerson 100 acres on both sides of Kilgore’s Branch, adjacent Fulkerson.

1788: James Lea of Kilgore's Branch has been cited as dying in 1788,  but there is no documentation. to prove this.   He was not the James Lea, whose will was written in 1771 and proven in March 1792, who is known as known as James Lea of Country Line Creek. Rev. Lorenzo Lea has been cited as the author of the death date [2 June 1788] and his great grandfather’s age of 73. In tracking down the source of the death date, comes the following:

1. Lorenzo Lea’s notes do not contain a death date. Great grandson Reverend Lorenzo Lea writes, “James Lea was a very small man of temperate habits and lived to be very old. His home was known in the family as The Old Place".
2. Lorenzo Lea’s notes published in the book, Lea Family, a collection of genealogies, articles, and correspondence compiled by Francis Powell Otken, including Albert E. Casey’s book oft cited, does not include a death date. Otken has included a genealogy from Whilhelmina Lea, written Oct 22 1908 in Leasburg North Carolina in a letter form with Lorenzo's notes, stating, "This genealogical record was compiled by Rev Lorenzo Lea and is not complete, or free from errors. He gave no dates except on the first page, hence the difficulty in getting things straight. I am adding dates from an old family Bible of my grandfather William Lea." Whilelmina Lea offers no death dates; nor does another contributor, Edwin Holmes Lea.

3. The source of the death date appears first in Notable Southern Families, McCall-Tidwell and Knight. and it was published  in the book, Lea Family by Otken. The Chattanooga Times published an article from the magazine section dated Dec 15.1935. "Leaves from the Family Tree by Penelope Johnson Allen, State Chairman of Genealogical Records, Tennessee Society D.A.R. In the first paragraph she writes, "James Lea died 2 June 1788." Mrs. Allen continued the same lineage mix-up of the children of James Lea of Kilgore’s Branch and James Lea of Country Line Creek.  All but three of the DAR applications on James Lea married to Ann  ie Talbot show his death locale as Tennessee.  The DAR applications for this man show his son as Luke Lea  (erroneously) listing James and Ann Talbot Lea as parents.

4. CVF: Historian Betty Fitzgerald cites 2 June 1788 per Lorenzo Lea; Katherine Kerr Kendall cites death age of 73 years old using Lorenzo Lea from Albert E. Casey.  Cynthia Forde disproved this citation by copying the complete notes of Lorenzo Lea located in the Raleigh Archives and sent copies to Rick Frederick showing Lorenzo Lea never ,NEVER wrote it.  It was a fabrication by Albert E. Casey OR from someone applying for membership in the DAR.

5. "A James Lea gave one of the two depositions in the home of a Gabriel Lea because he was "too old and infirm to travel" to the courthouse. This James Lea apparently lived near Gabriel Lea. And, both James Lea candidates apparently lived near each other. The principal candidates are James (Cobb's Creek) Lea and James (Kilgore's Branch) Lea. Query whether James (Cobb's Creek) Lea first married the Bankston daughter, became a widower, and then married Elizabeth Unknown. Or did James Lea(Kilgore's Branch) move to North Carolina as a widower and marry the Bankston daughter? Until a death date can be established for James (Kilgore's Branch) Lea by reference to a reliable record, both James Leas must continue to be considered as candidates for the husband of a daughter of Lawrence Bankston.

Thus, James (Kilgore's Branch) Lea remains a candidate for the husband of the Bankston daughter even though some researchers show his death year as 1788. No primary source has been found confirming that death year. And, James (Kilgore's Branch) Lea did name a grandson Lawrence Lea (otherwise not a common Lea given name).
[E-mail from Rick Frederick NCCHA 10 Feb 2012]

Warning: The following may not apply to James Lea of Kilgore's Branch, but the records may indicate he was still living post 1788]:

[note: While James Lea, Jr. was known to be living in Tennessee, the following transactions occurred)

25 Jun 1792: James Lea sold to Samuel Nealey 200 acres on South Hico adjacent Samuel Johnston and James Johnston, Cooper, Huston. [James Lea, Jr. was living in Tennessee.]

1 Feb 1793: James Lea sold to Richard Hamblet 148 acres on Kilgore’s Branch of North Hico, adjacent Kilgore. Gabriel Lea witnessed.

24 Nov 1795: Gloucester County Records: James Lea, a neighbor to Baylor Bird, who sold land to James Sargent, Sr. Other neighbors were William Stewart, Joseph Neeley, John Wisdom, Henry Fuller, Jr., Thomas Phelps. [Last mention of James Lea in Gloucester County area; Gabriel, William, and Lawrence Lea continued to appear in land records there.]

In Gloucester District, there were two James Leas mentioned in the deeds in 1782, 1783 and 1784, designated Jr. and Sr., which does not necessarily mean they were father and son. These may have been the same two James Leas mentioned in St. Lawrence District, as these areas were very close. Cobb’s Creek of St. Lawrence District appears from the map to have been just a ‘stone’s throw’ from the Kilgore Creek area of Gloucester District.

1790 U.S. Federal Census, Gloucester District, Caswell County, NC
Appearing on this list: James Lea, Gabriel Lea, Thomas Kilgore [The James Lea who lived near Gabriel Lee in 1800 was also between twenty-six and forty-five, too young to be the same who gave the deposition; James Lea, son of “Kilgore” was living in Tennessee]

[1] Documents: Betty Fitzgerald, The Descendants of James Lea of Kilgore's Branch, Research Report.

[2] Katherine Kerr Kendall, "Caswell County "Heritage", by K. K. Kendall, #437 & #437A

[3] Document 3: Raquel Lindaas, Lea Family Research, 2005, 2006, The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Vold Forde

[4] Caswell County Historical Society Website, E-mail communication with Rick Fredrick. []

[5] Ben L. Rose, Report of Research on the Lea Family in Virginia & North Carolina Before 1800, [1984] at 124-125.

[6] Document 14: Dr. A. B. Pruitt, Abstracts of Land Entries: Caswell Co., NC, 1778-1795, 1841-1863, and Person Co., NC, 1792-1795 [Raleigh: p. p., 1990].

[7] Document 8: Ben Lacy Rose, Alexander Rose of Person County, North Carolina and His Descendants [Richmond: Carter Composition, 1979].

1 comment:

Melantha said...

Good for people to know.