Who are all the “children” of Thomas Pettus

+5 votes

Now that we have winnowed down the “Thomas Pettus” profiles to one correct man, Thomas Pettus b. 1599 has acquired twelve children.  The only child mentioned in any document is another Thomas, born in Virginia, son of 1599 Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth, born after 1651.  Son Thomas was still a minor in 1671, since his mother’s current husband, John Groves, was ordered by the General Court to return the property of [Thomas] Pettus, orphan.  Thomas the son married a woman named Mourning Burgh and may have died in the Netherlands about 1687.

Thomas/Pettus-8 currently has the following children:

Elizabeth (Pettus-4)  birthdate unknown, daughter of Pettus-8, and Elizabeth Mourning Pettus, Mourning-7      As noted above, Pettus-8 had one known child.  This woman may be his granddaughter.  Son Thomas married first a woman whose name is unknown. They were the parents of a daughter, Elizabeth and possibly a son Stephen.  Second wife named Mourning Burgh (somehow her first name has become a last name) no children with Thomas. She remarried and had a child also named Elizabeth, with her second husband.

Elizabeth (Pettus-139) born Williamsburg, 1636 d. 1701 daughter of Pettus-8 and Mourning-7; no records of anyone by this name with these dates, appears to be a duplicate of Pettus-4, granddaughter of Pettus-8

John (Pettus-19)  birth date, birthplace, death date, death place unknown, no bio info;  no contemporary records of anyone in Virginia by this name; Pettus-8 had a brother in England named John

John (Pettus-147)  born 1635 Williamsburg, VA  no records of anyone with this name or date, Pettus-8 arrived in Virginia around 1638, no marriage known prior to 1643;  this person appears to be mythical

Stephen (Pettus-16) born England 1619, died New Kent Virginia 1686  Listed with Pettus-8 as father, no mother.  No evidence that Pettus-8 had a wife and/or children in England,  this man may be a cousin.  A 1637 land patent to Matthew Edloe includes a Stephen Pettus as one of the headrights

Stephen (Pettus-253)  apparent duplicate of above, listed with Pettus-8 and Mourning-7 Pettus as parents

Stephen (Pettus-319) b. 1642 James City, VA d. 1677 son of Pettus-8 and Elizabeth Freeman-11409; see above.  (The wife of Pettus-8 may have been born Elizabeth Freeman.)

Augustine (Pettus-133) no dates, son of Pettus-8 and Mourning-7, no records of any such person in America, there was an Augustine Pettus b. 1582 in Norwich, England

Thomas (Pettus-157)  b. 1638 no location no death, parents Pettus-8 and Mourning-7

Thomas II (Pettus-331) b. 1652, James City, VA d. 1687, Holland parents Pettus-8 and Freeman-11409  - this appears to be the one and only child of Pettus-8 and wife Elizabeth (?possibly Freeman) Durrant/ Pettus/Graves

Thomas, Jr. (Pettus-7) b. 1656 Williamsburg, d. 1698 Lunenburg, VA parents Pettus-8 and Mourning-7

Mary (Pettus-150) b. 1639 d. 1703 locations unknown, parents Pettus-8 and Mourning-7, no records of any such person in America

WikiTree profile: Thomas Pettus
in Genealogy Help by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (306k points)
edited by Kathie Forbes
I'd never heard of the name "Pettus" until a recent stroll through a cemetery in Drakes Branch, Virginia, where I saw several tombstones with that surname.

3 Answers

+1 vote
Then you for summarising the existing links here Kathy, and my apologies for putting the Pettuses on the back burner for a few weeks.

Obviously only some of these relationships are correct, and there will have to be some disconnections.

I will get going with the research again tomorrow.

by Jo Fitz-Henry G2G6 Mach 8 (86.7k points)
No need for apologies, you’ve done all the work!
0 votes

With reference to Kathie's list above, the children Stephen Pettus-319 and Thomas Pettus-331 by his wife Elizabeth Freeman Durrent/Pettus/Grove are supported by the evidence in William Walker Pettus IV's Book "Thomas Petyous of Norwich, England and his Pettus Descendants in England and Virginia (Volume 1)" pub 2011.

I will leave these attached and detach the other children with a reference to who their original family was said to have been.

by Jo Fitz-Henry G2G6 Mach 8 (86.7k points)
All but Thomas Pettus-331 and Stephen Pettus-319 have now been disconnected as children of Thomas Pettus-8.

I have proposed a merge of Thomas Pettus-7 with Thomas Pettus-331.
0 votes

The next project will be to sort out the five wives created for Thomas Pettus-8.

The correct one is Elizabeth Freeman-11409. Widow of Richard Durrant / Durrent,

We also have

Elizabeth Mourning-7. Her profile is a hybrid of the Elizabeth Freeman who married Thomas Pettus-8 (better fit with dates), and the Mourning Burgh who married her son. Despite having a LNAB of Mourning, she is a better fit for being merged with Freeman-11409

Elizabeth Mouring-5. Her dates are the same as for Elizabeth Mourning-7, but comes with five children of dubious existence: John b 1635, Elizabeth b. 1636, Augustine b. 1637, Thomas b. 1638 and Mary b.1639 

I suggest detaching the children and merging her into Freeman-11409 as well.

Two more:

Katherine Morris-7581

Katherine Morris 6446

Both have been detached as wives from Pettus-8. Morris-6646 is also married to one of the Stephen Pettuses, Pettus-16. This Stephen Pettus-16 was originally attached as one of Thomas Pettus-8's sons.More research needed as Morris-6446 is also born 19 years after the death of her father,

by Jo Fitz-Henry G2G6 Mach 8 (86.7k points)
Katherine Morris was a real person, there is a marriage reference for Katherine Morris and a Thomas Pettit, but not 1599 Thomas, a later man.
Thanks Kathie! This is turning into a real tangle!

Do we have a source for a Katherine Morris marrying a Stephen Pettus?
Yes, it is.  and there aren't a lot of records to actually see.  I will try to get to the library in the next few days to check the marriage reference for Katherine and Thomas (I confused myself about Stephen).  This is  not my family, but I've done a lot of research due to the bogus claims of Indian connections.  A lot of this is just conjecture on the part of the author of the huge Pettus book.  For example, there is no documentary evidence that the Stephen currently attached to Thomas 1599 was his son. It is just as likely that Stephen was a cousin or possibly a nephew.  There may be as many as four Stephen Pettuses  just like there were several Thomases.    

You've done a great job on this, I'll try to collect more factual information and keep chipping away at these folks.    If we're lucky we can winnow it down to one profile for each real person and get rid of the myths and the duplicates!
Thanks Kathie

There are two "huge" Pettus books that I know of.

"The Pettus Family" by Pocahontas Stacy (1957) which I haven't seen in the flesh, but have seen quotations from


"Thomas Petyous of Norwich, England and his Pettus descendants in England and Virginia" by William Walker Pettus IV,  pub 2011.

I have to say, I've been very impressed by the research and diligence that has gone into William Pettus' book. All the references from Norwich and Norfolk I can easily corroborate by his citations and he shows all his working for the history he presents.When the Pettus story goes to Virginia, that's when I have to take his work on trust, but I see no reason not to.
The following statements are confirmed by deeds and court orders:

A man named Thomas Pettit/Pettus married Katherine Morris, daughter of George and Eleanor Morris before 1658.

Thomas and Katherine were the parents of Dorothy and Thomas.  This is confirmed by wills and deeds.

Thomas died in 1663 or 1664, will dated 13 September 1663  (his son Thomas was born after his death).  Katherine married two more times, to John Long (child Catherine) and Thomas Gaines (child Anne)

Dorothy Pettit married James Fugate in 1675.  James and Dorothy took Katherine and Thomas Gaines to court in 1693 claiming that Thomas Gaines was cutting timber on land left to Dorothy by her father.

I have only seen transcripts of the documents, but the name is transcribed as "PETTIT"  or "PETTITT" on almost all of them, including the will.  The 1693 court case refers to Dorothy  as both "PETTITT" and "PETTIS."

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