Captain Thomas Hemphill’s Will – page 1

Captain Thomas Hemphill is the ancestor who really got me interested in genealogy, but I’ve had his will sitting in my inbox ever since it arrived in the mail from the North Carolina State Archives in 2009.  Yes, almost three years.  Why has it been languishing, you ask?

Well, it’s not just a will – it’s a contested will – and all the court papers are included, so this little packet is 9 pages of legal-size paper that needs to be transcribed.  I needed something to motivate me to tackle this project and I can thank Valerie Elkins, my partner-in-crime in US-Records Study Group for assigning us to transcribe a will as part of our Familiar Records Practices chapter.  As soon as I saw the assignment, I knew that the time had come to pull Captain Thomas out of the inbox.

Since it is nine pages, I’m going to transcribe and post it one page at a time as a series.  Here’s page one 1.

Click to enlarge


State of North Carolina

Burke County }      At a Court of pleas and quarter

Sessions formed and held for the County aforesaid at the

Court House in Morganton on the fourth Monday in

July AD 1824

The following issue was made up and entered on the record of the Said County Court in the case to wit.

Thomas Hemphill & Polly Hemphill

Legatees & Devisees in Support of the

Will of Thomas Hemphill deceased


James Hemphill & Moses Whitesides & wife}        Devisavit Vel Non

On the aforesaid fourth Monday in July 1824 Came the Said

Thomas Hemphill & Polly Hemphill by their Attorneys D. F.

Coldwell and A. L. Ervin Esquires. Then also came the said

James Hemphill & Moses Whitesides & wife.  This case between the

Parties had continued over from Court to Court until July

Sessions of the Said County Court 1826.  When Came the parties

aforesaid by their Attorneys aforesaid and also a Jury to try

the truth of the issue, to wit,

1 [???]by Young                5 Samuel Bowman           9 William Caswell

2  Joseph Burnett             6 Lazirus Philips                 10 Zachariah Downs

3  Seth Bradsher               7 Reddick Trumau            11 James McK Onail

4 Henry Paine                    8 Larken Hartley               12 John Rutherford

The Jury finds the paper writing produced is the last

will of and Testatment of Thomas Hemphill deceased.  From

which verdict the Said James Hemphill & Moses Whitesides prayed

an Appeal which was granted to Burke Superior Court to be

held at the Court House in Morganton on the fourth Monday

in September next, having entered into bond with approved


Copy Record


James Ervin Clk

The above record now secured and filed in the office of the

Clerk of the Superior Court September 25th 1826

What I learned from this page:

There is not much of genealogical significance to be gleaned from the first page, but it does confirm some information found in other, derivative sources.  There is also one piece of crucial information implied that conflicts with other sources.  I will need to read the remaining pages to be sure I’m correct, but. . .

Parties to the case:

  • Thomas Hemphill & Polly Hemphill – this would be Thomas McEntire Hemphill, Captain Thomas’ youngest son (and my ancestor), and Mary Hemphill, an unmarried daughter.
  • James Hemphill & Moses Whitesides & wife – James is either the oldest or second oldest son (Samuel  is not proven; he may not be a son or if he was, he likely died before Captain Thomas).  Moses Whitesides is a son-in-law, having married Elizabeth Ann Hemphill (two of Moses’ brothers married two of Elizabeth’s sisters, so there are three Whitesides sons-in-law – just to keep things confusing).

Date of Captain Thomas Hemphill’s death: 

  • I have his death date as 4 May 1826 and the source is his tombstone inscription.  HOWEVER, this particular stone was placed by the SAR in the 1990’s.  His original marker is completely weathered and illegible.
  • James Hemphill, Moses Whitesides & wife originally brought suit over the will in July 1824.  They would not have done this unless Captain Thomas was deceased, would they?
  • The case continued over until July 1826.  I think the death year on the tombstone has been picked up from this court document incorrectly and that it is really 1824; we’ll call this a hypothesis for now.

Stay tuned for more of this estate file in upcoming posts.

  1. Burke County Original Wills, Thomas Hemphill (c1824); box no. C.R. 016.801.1, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh
Series NavigationCaptain Thomas Hemphill’s Will – page 2 >>

Related posts:

Share this article!


  1. Kathy Daniels says

    Tonia, I feel so lucky to have a cousin on this line doing such great research. Are you hoping (as I am) that WDYTYA will be tracing Reba’s McEntire line? I’m looking forward to the rest of your transcription of this will. Thanks for your hard work.

    Your 5th or 6th (or so) cousin, Kathy

    • Tonia Kendrick says

      Hi Kathy, thanks! Yes, I can’t wait for the Reba McEntire episode. She’s going to be fun to watch, I think, regardless of which line they trace, but I do hope it will be the McEntires. She’s been tweeting about the episode, so I think she is excited, too. : )

  2. says

    We are 2nd cousins, my mother was Edna Hemphill Pendley, your grandfathers older sister. My neice Patti Adams has been following your blog and often sends me your post. I have enjoyed all that she has sent and thought it was time that I joined.. Look forward to reading about your findings.
    Eileen Mullinax

    • Tonia Kendrick says

      Hi Eileen, I remember you. : ) I’m glad you stopped by and commented. I’ll tell my mom that I heard from you.

  3. Sherry Rogers says

    HI Tonia!

    I am sherry rogers and I live in Mcdowell County. My fourth great grandfather is Thomas Hemphill. I so enjoy that you are interested in genealogy as I am. I am in the Greenlee chapter DAR here in Marion and my ancestor is Thomas Hemphill. My mother is Ruby Suttle Wilson, Her father is John Edgar Suttle, His mother is Mary Ella Wiseman, her mother is Susannah Wiseman Ollis, but susannah was in a common law marriage with John Mackey Hemphill confirmed by the death certificate of my g grandmother ella wiseman. John Mackey’s father wass Thomas Mcentire Hemphill and his father was Thomas Hemphill. Just wanted you to know if you need pics of the area or of the graveyard at ebenezer I can always help since I live here.

    Your distant cousin,

    Sherry Rogers

    • Tonia Kendrick says

      Hi Sherry! I’ve been to the cemetery at Ebenezer several times, but thank you for your offer!

      I did not know that John McKey Hemphill was in a common-law marriage. I assume this was after the death of Mary Morrison?

      Oh, and I love hearing that you are in the Greenlee chapter of the DAR. My great-grandfather’s sister was Kate Hemphill Greenlee.

      So great to hear from you,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge