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Research comparing two Robert Beasleys

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: North Carolinamap
Surname/tag: Beasley
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There are two Robert Beasleys assigned the will of 1808 in Bladen County, NC: Beasley-1934 and Beasley-1779. I have determined that they are two different men and that the will belongs to Beasley-1779.

The will for Robert Beasley 1808[1] was probated in Bladen County where most of the evidence of the family exists. Particularly, the 1790 census of Bladen County[2] showing Robert Busley (Beesley) consisting of one male over 16, 2 males under 16 and four females. In the 1800 census for Bladen County NC[3], there is a Robert Beazley: 1 male over 45, one male 10-15, 2 males under 10, one female 26-44, one female 16-25, and 2 females under 10. In the will for Robert, we identify sons Richard, John, and Henry receiving land. The land for Henry was identified as "where I now live" and was willed for the continuing use by his unnamed wife. He then identifies his daughter Mary. Finally, he refers to "my wife and children until the youngest child comes of age." This suggests more than one minor children.

If we take the ordering of the males to indicate family placement, that would mean that the 1790 census includes Robert (over 16), Richard and John (under 16). There were four females in 1790 and in 1800 there were only 2 females who would have been living in 1790. I suggest that two of the 1790 females would be his wife and his daughter Mary. I suggest that the other two were deceased or married. I would further suggest that Henry was in the 10-15 age group. Since a third son did not appear in 1790, I suggest he was born just after the census and was 10 years old in 1800. That means that at the time of the will, he would have been 18 and still living at home as suggested by Henry receiving the land where he lived with his parents at the time of the will. There would have been 2 males and 2 females in the group of minor children.

Now to Robert son of John and Sarah. This family originated with Robert Beasley born in about 1630 in England who arrived at Albemarle County, NC in the 1670s with 2 of his four identified children being born in England and the younger two in NC. For generations, this family lived in and around Chowan County. Robert Beasley, son of John and Sarah was a gg grandson of Robert (1630). In the 1790 census[4], there was a Robert Beasley in Chowan County NC identified as 2 males 16 and over, 4 slaves and no females. In 1800[5], there is a Robert Brasley (Beasley) in Chowan County: 1 male 26-44, 2 males under 10, 1 female 16-25 and 1 female under 10. The record shows that Robert Beasley of Chowan County married first Elizabeth Elliott in 1790 and second Rebecca Wilkins in 1793. This would suggest that in 1790, Robert was living with his brother George who was also married in 1790. In his will written in 1795[6], John Beasley named Robert and George as co-executors. The will was proved in court in 1801. Having been married in 1793, Robert had two sons and 1 daughter born before 1800. Their identity has not been found yet, mainly because further research on this line has not been done.

To put this all in perspective, it would be important to look at the geography[7]. Before Robert 1630 arrived in North Carolina in the 1670s the original counties formed in 1664 were Albermarle in the northeast on the banks of Albermarle Sound and Clarendon, roughly on the southern coast before the Carolinas were separated. Within three years the southern county was abandoned leaving Albemarle in the North. Beginning in 1770, Albermarle County was divided into Precincts which later became counties: Currituck, Pasquotank, Berkely, and Shaftesbury. At that time the rest of Albermarle had an undefined western border. By 1685, Berkeley was changed to Perquimans and Shaftesbury was changed to Chowan. By 1689, Albermarle was discontinued as a governmental unit and Chowan became the westernmost of the four counties with an open border to the west. By 1710, North and South Carolina were divided, identifying the southern boundary of NC. The four counties on the north side of Albermarle Sound remained the only established counties. In 1722 Bertie County was formed out of the west side of Chowan. Over much time, these four counties experienced some carving and border changes but remain to this day. The records for generations of this family to the Revolutionary war continue to be found in the counties near Albermarle Sound.

Through the 1720s, the southern coast of NC from the Pamlico River including the Neuse River was roughly identified as Craven and New Hanover Counties. In 1734, Bladen County was formed from the west side of New Hanover, bordering South Carolina. By 1754, the western boundary of Bladen was established. By the 1790 census, it was reduced by about a third and remained that way until 1811 when the entire border with South Carolina had been ceded to Robeson, Columbus, and Brunswick Counties. The location of Bladen County today, through numerous minor boundary changes remain in the same locale. The distance between Chowan and Bladen is about 225 miles

While there are many issues of decendants to be resolved, I consider the above information to prove that the two Robert Beasleys are distinct. As for the possibility of connection between the Bladen County Beasleys and the Darlington SC families, I would not rule that out pending further research.

  2. Year: 1790; Census Place: Bladen, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 77; Image: 392; Family History Library Film: 0568147
  3. Year: 1800; Census Place: Capt Greenes District, Bladen, North Carolina; Series: M32; Roll: 31; Page: 11; Image: 20; Family History Library Film: 337907
  4. Year: 1790; Census Place: Chowan, North Carolina; Series: M637; Roll: 7; Page: 209; Image: 462; Family History Library Film: 0568147
  5. Year: 1800; Census Place: Chowan, Chowan, North Carolina; Series: M32; Roll: 30; Page: 121; Image: 129; Family History Library Film: 337906
  6. John Beasley will (1795), Chowan County, North Carolina, Will Book B: 166-167; “Chowan County Will Books B and C,” microfilm C.024, 80005; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.


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