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Untangling the ancestors of Thomas Amis (Amis-7)

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: North Carolina, United Statesmap
Surname/tag: Amis, Dillard, Bennehan
This page has been accessed 22 times.

There are several Amis families living in Virginia and North Carolina during and after the American Revolution. I want to understand how they are related. Too many are floating on our tree with poor sources or none at all.


Literature Review

  • Another book that reviews the Amis family at least contains some sources: Elizabeth S. Owens, "The Amis Family and Their Known Descendants," (Clinton, Mississippi: self-published by author, 1996), available on FamilySearch, here: http://www.familysearch.org/library/books/idurl/1/135761.

Thomas Amis of Halifax County, North Carolina, died bef 1798

This man is not Thomas Amis of Hawkins County, Tennessee, but is likely related to him because of a gift he made to Thomas Gale Amis in his will. See profile for Thomas Amis.

Will of Thomas Amis, Halifax County, North Carolina, dated 7 Oct 1796 and recorded May 1798. To niece Rebecca Bennehan daughter of Richard & Mary Bennehan, all his estate, both real & personal except the legacy to follow, i.e., "I give and bequeath unto Thomas Gale Amis one thousand Dollars to be advanced one year after my death and the money placed on interest and the interest to be employed in educating him." If these two should die, then the estate should go to Thomas Dudley Bennehan son of Richard & Mary Bennehan. Executors Richard Bennehan & William Amis. CODICIL: to friend and partner Jesse Rhymes, the use of the houses & lot which was bought of John Kelly during his natural life all the messuages Improvement to be compleated [sic] at the Joint Expense of the Company. Also unto the said Jesse Rhymes, Grace & her son Henry during his natural life requesting that he will on his part embrace the first opportunity to obtain their liberation whenever the same shall be allowed by Law. Item I bequeath to my Friend Starling Marshall my Gold watch. I give unto the following slaves Jim Bray and Duncan a suit of cloathes [sic] to each of second quality cloth to cost eight shilling sterling.[1]

From his will, we know that this Thomas Amis was the brother of Mary Amis Bennehan, who was married to Richard Bennehan.

Mary Bennehan's Find A Grave memorial states that she was the daughter of Thomas Amis of Halifax and sister of a younger Thomas Amis who was "distinguished during the American Revolution."[2] The Thomas Amis who was particularly distinguished during the American Revolution was Thomas Amis, who served in the North Carolina legislature and later as commisary for the North Carolina colony during the war. He was not the Thomas Amis of Halifax County who left the 1796 will. There *was* a relationship, because Thomas of Halifax left the legislator's son a legacy in his will, but it was not a parental relationship, therefore (aside from the fact that two siblings are unlikely to share the same first name) the legislator was not a sibling of Thomas of Halifax and the undocumented reference in the Find A Grave memorial is incorrect.

Mother of Thomas Amis: Mary Dillard

The mother of Thomas Amis is said to be Mary Dillard. Here are some sources that apparently refer to this person:

  • "Mary, Daughter of Edwd & Martha Dillard born Sept. 28th. Baptiz'd Oct. 24, 1736."[3] However, Mary Dillard would have been seven years old in 1743, when she supposedly married John Amis. The source for this information[4] is highly questionable. Either John married a different Mary, or they actually married many years later.


  1. "North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970" > Halifax Wills > 1781-1824, digital images, DGS 4755347, image 335 of 763, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939L-VL7Q-HV : accessed 27 Jan 2022); citing Halifax County, North Carolina Will Book 03, p. 302, will of Thomas Amis, dated 7 Oct 1796, recorded May 1798.
  2. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20612268/mary-bennehan : accessed 27 January 2022), memorial page for Mary Amis Bennehan (1756–17 Dec 1812), Find a Grave Memorial ID 20612268, citing Bennahan Family Cemetery, Mangum Township, Durham County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by David A. French (contributor 47127919) .
  3. The National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the State of Virginia, The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Virginia, from 1653 to 1812 (Richmond: Wm. Ellis Jones Steam Book and Job Printer, 1897). digital images, HathiTrust (https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uiug.30112055998386). Note: A list of all the children of Edward and Martha Alding Dillard based on this source (and well cited) is found on the profile of Edward Dillard.
  4. From profile for John Amis: Marriage: Author: Yates Publishing Title: U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 Publication: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data - This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived, Page: Source number: 3604.000; Source type: Electronic Database; Number of Pages: 1; Submitter Code: LLH. Birth date: 1724 Birth place: VA Marriage date: 1743 Marriage place:.

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