Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Mary Whitley

My first encounter with a mysterious woman named Mary Whitley was when I was studying the story and tragic beginnings in life of Drucilla Beasley. Drucilla Beasley had been born in the Olive Branch community of Union County, North Carolina near the Anson and Union County border. Her mother was a young woman named Martha Beasley, known as "Patsy".

Old Ham Creek Cabin | Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains of North ...

Patsy was the daughter of John Beasley and lived alone with her infant daughter in a cabin on the corner of her father's property. Pasty had been disgraced by the birth of her child out of wedlock. The baby's father was one Thomas Nash, son of Walker and Edna Nash. It's recorded that he was a blonde, good looking young man. Tom apparently frequented the home of Patsy Beasley, but would not marry her. About a year afer the birth of their daughter, Drusilla, His attention had been captured by a different lass, a girl named Mary, maiden name unknown. Mary had refused his attentions based on his ongoing sexual relations with his "baby momma", Patsy Beasley. Tom had confessed to Mary that he would get rid of that obstacle. And he did, quite savagely, Tom Nash had murdered Patsy Beasley.

antique miniature gem tintype photo - 1800s, man with pensive look ...

He had found Patsy, as the story goes, washing clothes at a spring. From the scene later discovered by neighbors, they assumed she had decided to do the laundry while the baby napped, as she was found crawling around the cabin unharmed. Patsy had been shot and stomped and her head bashed in with a large stone. It was a particularly grievous crime. One can imagine him shooting her first, and as his aim was bad and had merely wounded her, he either beat her first and then attacked her with the stone while she was down, or he knocked her unconscious with the stone and then proceded to stomp on her lifeless body.

He was soon found out and jailed, having given his guilt away at Jerusalem Church and having had admitted his plot to rid himself of the obstacle, Patsy, to win Mary's heart, to Mary. It took 3 or 4 years of delays and appeals and bouncing the trial from county to county because so many were tainted against Tom Nash, his right to a fair trial was hindered.

In 1964, in the Rowan County newspaper, The Salisbury Post, a staff reporter named Heath Thomas gave an account of the story of Patsy Beasley's murder for the Sunday, April 12 edition of the newspaper. This rendition has been attached to the profile of Tom and Patsy on by user billieranson from an account by Dee Austin Creech quoting the 1964 article. Below is the mention of Mary Whitley, as given in this account. She went on after the romantic leanings of murderer Tom Nash, to marry someone else, an unknown Mr. Whitley, and was expecting her first child.

C.W. Wooly, Clerk of Montgomery Superior Court on February 25, 1846. Clerk Wooly also ordered the prisoner be returned to Wadesboro, and that he be returned to Troy on the last Monday in August 1846. At the August term at Troy, Judge Thomas Little was on the bench and Robert Strange again filled the role of prosecutor. This time it was the state that asked for a continuance. John Beasley (Patsy's father) made oath that Mary Whitley was a material witness for the state, by whom he expected to prove admissions of the defendant that he was guilty of the murder. Mary, it was pointed out, had attended prior sessions, but was then in a state of pregnancy, "so far advanced as to render it very unsafe for her to attend the present term of court." Beasley also swore that he had recently learned that Henry Marshall of Stanly County was a material witness by whom he expected to prove that Nash admitted to Marshall that he had killed the Beasley girl. John Beasley made the affidavit on September 2, 1846. It was then ordered by the court that Thomas Nash be committed to the custody of Col. George D. Boggan, sheriff of Anson, who was to keep the prisoner in Wadesboro until the next term of Montgomery County Superior Court, the first Monday of February, 1847. Thomas Nash made an oath that A. Kael Burger would be a material witness for him in this trial of this cause, that he had been summoned and was absent without the consent of the affiant, who expected to prove by him that the gun of the prisoner was in the same condition on the 1st of August, 1844, as it was on the 5th of August, and that prisoner was not within two miles of the place where Martha Patsy Beasley was killed, between the hours of 10 o'clock in the forenoon and 2 o'clock in the afternoon, on the day of her alleged death. This affiant further swore that on his arrest upon the charge, he was carried before a justice of the peace before whom the examination was taken and many witnesses were examined on the part of the State, whose testimony was reduced to writing by the said examining magistrate; this defendant was informed and believes that the said examining magistrate; this defendant was informed and believes that the said examination was regular and was returned to the clerk's office of the Superior Court of the County of Anson and he could not come safely to trial without the benefit of said evidence. So Nash was ordered back to Wadesboro once more to wait the August term of Montgomery County Superior Court. At last in August, 1847, Thomas Nash was put on trial for the murder of a woman who had died more than three years before.

Secluded Rental Cabin On the Southern Illinois Wine Trail ...

So, who was Mary Whitley? While over the years in Anson County and most espcially, in neighboring Stanly County, there were a few Mary Whitley's, only one would have been the right age for this Mary, and she had been pregnant in 1847. The others were either far to young or far too old, or were not yet born at all.

Name:Mary Whittey
Birth Year:abt 1819
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Lanesboro, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Cannot Read, Write:Y
Line Number:32
Dwelling Number:1101
Family Number:1101
Household Members:
Mary Whittey31
Sarah Whittey7
Rosa Whittey5
James Whittey3

Mary first appears in the 1850 census, alone with her 3 children,  Sarah, Rosa and James, in Lanesboro in Anson County. She is sandwiched between the family of Joseph J Williams and that of his older son. One might think she may have been a daughter of his, but she isn't. He does have a widowed daughter named Mary living with him and she had married an Allen.

I looked into land records involving Joseph Williams to see if there is any mention of a neighbor named Whitley, and there is not.

The only Whitley mentioned in the 1840 census of Anson County, the one before Mary would have gotten married is a Henry Whitley and he clearly already had a family. In 1830, there is Henry and Allen Whitley. I found this information on Allen and Henry Whitley.

Allen Whitley was born in 1806 in North Carolina. A birthdate of October 10 is given for him. On November 25, 1820, at the age of 19, he purchased land in Anson County from Thomas Trull. Four years later, at the age of 23, he married Mary Ann Price, age 15, and daughter of Abraham and Ester Price. In 1830, the couple is shown next door to her parents. On November 18, 1835. Allen Whitley sells the property to Daniel Sneed. The deed is witnessed by Henry Whitley and David Webb. It is believed that Henry and Daniel were brothers, or some other way related.

Cobb County, Georgia - Wikipedia

Allen moves to Roswell, Cobb County, Georgia. Henry is found in Cherokee County, Georgia in 1850 and then later moves to Fayette County, Alabama where he remains until his death in 1881. He has a large family with a wife named Nancy, who was his contemporary, so he was not the husband of Mary Whitley, although a relative of his could have been. As Henry was born in 1793, he may have even had a son who was old enough to have married Mary.

This set of Whitley's originated in Nash County, in fact ,there seems to have been a very close connection between the Whitley's and the Nashes of Nash County and those of Anson County.  In fact, in the Allen Whitley deed was noted that the property adjoined that of Richard Nash.

And then there was Exodus. Exodus Whitley, through grants and census records, clearly lived in Montgomery County, North Carolina. A petition drawn up by the citizens of Montgomery County in 1811 asking to be annexed into Cabarrus County, due to the dangers of having to cross the Pee Dee River in order to go to Court and take care of business, asked that the annexed section include those on the West Side of the River, which eventually became Stanly County, down to Exodux Whitley's ford on the Rocky River.

This meant that Exodus Whitley lived on the (now) Stanly County side of the Pee Dee River, along the Rocky River just across the Anson County border, near the edge of the county.

He had two deeds, however, recorded in Anson County. In the first one, he made a purchase of a tract on Cedar Branch from Daniel Hinson. It's noted that Exodus Whitley was from Montgomery County and Daniel HInson from Anson. Dated March 29, 1809, the property bordered John Robbins property and went to the Gurley's corner stake. I had already researched the Gurleys and may be related to John Robbins, so I am familiar with  the general location of this property. It consisted of 150 acres and also bordered the Phillips property. Steven Whitley and Benjamin Grey were witnesses.

The second deed, in Book Y Page 472 is even more interesting. On October 28th, 1833, 24 years after he bought the property on Cedar Branch, Exodus Whitley sold it to Walker Nash. Exodus was still described as being from Montgomery County and Walker Nash from Anson. It was the same property in the same dimensions, still bordering the lines of John Robbins, Phillips and Gurley's corner. It was signed by Exodus Whitley and witnessed by Isham Whitley and Wyatt Nance.

What makes this interesting is the association of persons. Walker Nash was the father of Tom Nash who murdered Patsy Beasley and at whose trial Mary Whitley was called to testify. Wyatt Nance was the father of Robert Nance who would marry Mary Whitley's daughter, Sarah. It would make perfect sense that Mary Whitley was somehow related to this group of  Whitley's, due to the fact of the spot she landed and is shown is for 4 census records, being the only Whitley around, nearly. Addison Whitley shows up in Union County, later and supposedly the son of George Whitley. From what I've seen online, George and Exodus were brothers, but I've not done a great deal of research on it myself, so I couldn't swear by it.

Exodus Whitley in Montgomery County, NC in 1820. -
The North-Carolina Star
Raleigh, North Carolina
04 Aug 1820, Fri  •  Page 3

I had decided Exodus Whitley deserved a closer look. He recieved 5 Land Grants in Montgomery County, with the first being 50 acres on the West Side of the PeeDee River (now Stanly County), in 1790,and two in 1795 being described as being on Stillwater Creek. Stillwater Creek is now known as Island Creek and empties in to the Rocky River at the site of Old Nance's Mill. Remember the property in Anson bordering that of Wyatt Nance?

He recieved a 4th Grant in 1802 on the Rocky River and the 5th and last one in 1820 on the Rocky River. 

Name:Exodus Whitley
Home in 1800 (City, County, State):Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:1 1790-1800
Free White Persons - Males -10 thru 15:1 1785-1790
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:2  1775-1784
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over:1 Exodus- born before 1755
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:1 1790 - 1800
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15:2  1785 - 1790
Free White Persons - Females - 45 and over:1 Wife- born before 1755
Number of Household Members Under 16:5
Number of Household Members Over 25:2
Number of Household Members:9

Exodus Whitley first appears in the 1800 census of Montgomery County, NC, wherein the oldest male in the Household is over 45, meaning he was born in 1755 or earlier. Right next to him is a Cager Whitley, (the nickname for Micajah), a much younger man. They live right next to James Gurley.

Name:Cager Whitley
Home in 1800 (City, County, State):Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:1
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:1 1775-1784
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25:1 1775-1784
Number of Household Members Under 16:1
Number of Household Members:3

Exodus appears in the 1800 - 1830 census records. In the 1810, he is still listed as over 45 and near him is a young man named Needham Whitley. Up the page just a little is an older Needham Whitley, with George Springer appearing between that older Needham and a Titus Whitley and Patsy Whitley right next to him, most likely a widow. Below Exodus Whitley and young Needham is Bryant Austin, an ancestor of mine who lived on the Rocky River below Oakboro, and James Gurley. I've done research on James Gurley and he obviously owned property on both sides of the Rocky River in Anson and Stanly. The property that Exodus had bought in Anson bordered that of James Gurley and he will come up again in a minute. Just below them, you find Cager Whitley and a new one, Jonathan Whitley, listed side by side. Keep going and some distance down is not one, but two,George Whitleys, but all within two pages.

Name:Exodus Whittey
[Eadus Whitley] 
Home in 1810 (City, County, State):Wagster, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15:1795-1800
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over:1 Exodus before 1765
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15:1 1795-1800
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25:2 1785-1794
Number of Household Members Under 16:2
Number of Household Members Over 25:1
Number of Household Members:5
In 10 years, the family of Exodus Whitley went from 9 members to 5. There is no longer an older lady, presumably his wife, in the household. The same 3 younger females, (daughters), match up exactly in a decade progression from the 1800 census, but only the youngest son is left at home. The younger Needham and Jonathan could possibly be sons of Exodus.

Name:Cager Whittey
[Cager Whitley] 
Home in 1810 (City, County, State):Wagster, Montgomery, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10:3
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:1 1785-1794
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:1
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15:1
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25:1
Number of Household Members Under 16:5
Number of Household Members:7

Again, Cager is still a young man and living close to Exodus in 1810. There are several children in his household.
Inside an Old-fashioned Country Store | Photos by Ravi

In the late 1700's and early 1800's, a Palantine immigrant from Pennsylvania migrated to this area named John Melchor. Instanly, I began to wonder if he was a relation to Mathias Melchor who settled in Stanly County near Albemarle. John Melchor operated a Grist Mill on the Rocky River in what is now Cabarrus County, but was, in the beginning, part of Mecklenburg. He also ran a country store neat the current village of Mount Pleasant. Portions of his account still exists and can be found online in the archives. The names in the book cover a wide range of territory with citizens of Anson, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Stanly, Rowan and Union Counties being his customers. In 1794-1796, he makes the first mention of Exodus Whitley in this area, along with Titus Whitley and George Whitley "Jr.". I've seen it written that these 3 were brothers. That, I don't know, but they were contemporaries.Neighbors of Exodus Whitley are also named in the book, like Richard, Killis and Martin Almond, "Andy" Bird, Harbard Suggs and James and Jacob Gurley.Exodus Whitley is listed in the book in association with a Thomas Motley.Titus Whitley made a purchase for  a "Mainor". George Whitley is designated as "Jr.", indicating the older George Whitley, said to be the father of these three, was alive.

I mention this because Jonathan Whitley, who makes his first appearance in the 1810 census next to Cager Whitley, is shown as a young man under 25 with a young wife and 3 little girls. 

Name:Jonathan R Whitley
Bond date:23 Aug 1813
Bond Place:Mecklenburg, North Carolina, USA
Spouse:Jane Price
Spouse Gender:Female
Event Type:Bond

A Jonathan R. Whitley is shown as marrying a Jane Price in 1813 in Mecklenburg County. The surname Price will reappear later. The bondsman was B. Wilson Davidson. Addison Whitley, who would later live in Union County and is thought to be a son of George Whitley II, also married in Mecklenburg County to Samira Medlin.

Cager Whitley the younger, would move to Walton County, Georgia. Several other of the Whitleys did too, like James and Nathaniel.There was an older Micajah Whitley from Wayne County, who was a Revolutionary War soldier. He lived in Wayne County and left a will there about 1835. It's quite possible he was the older "Kager" in the 1810 census, and had returned to Wayne.There is no surviving 1820 census for Montgomery County. It was probably lost in one of the many courthouse fires. Jumping ahead to 1830, the Whitley family had grown, so much that a portion of Stanly County, around the area George Whitley settled, was known as "Whitley". 
There's a young Zachariah Whitley living near Thomas Motley, Jr.. Not far is a Thomas Whitley, Isham Whitley, George Whitley and Needham Whitley. A second Needham Whitley, designated as "SR." is on the next page living near Bryant Austin, Esq. Exodus is not far behind. James Gurley is no longer listed, but David Gurley is.Thomas Castle and Henry Manuel, supposedly their kin, are listed on the next page, along with John Whitley. William Whitley is living near the Almonds and Solomon Burris. Lastly an 80 plus year old George Whitley is living near John Gilbert, the bondsman for Addison Whitley and Silvia Springer, who will be mentioned again shortly.In the two deeds in Anson County involving Exodus Whitley, Isham Whitley signs as a witness in the first deed in 1809, while a Stephen Whitley signs as witness in the later one. 

Name:Stephen Whitley
Home in 1810 (City, County, State):Anson, North Carolina
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 25:1
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10:2
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25:1
Number of Household Members Under 16:2
Number of Household Members:4

While Isham is in Montgomery (Stanly) in 1830, Stephen is in Anson, and I have came across him before in my Gurley Research. 

Name:Stephen Whitley
Birth Year:abt 1782
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Division 12, Cass, Georgia, USA
Industry:Industry not reported
Cannot Read, Write:Y
Line Number:24
Dwelling Number:80
Family Number:80
Household Members:
Stephen Whitley68
Unity Whitley54
Lucinda Whitley20
George Whitley - Historical records and family trees - MyHeritage
George Whitley II

Stephen Whitley married Unity Gurley, daughter of Jacob Gurley and is mentioned in his will. They later migrate to Cass County, Georgia.  In 1840, no Whitley's are in Anson County. In Montgomery, Exodus Whitley is no more. He died between 1830 and 1840 and no will is found. As Montgomery is a burned county, he may have had one. 
Although many of the young Whitleys had migrated away to take that gene pool onward to Georgia and Alabama, many remained in what was soon to become Stanly County. Green D. Whitley makes his first appearance near the Burris and Tucker clans.A cluster of Whitleys appear near the Cagles and Bryant Austin still. There's George, Neeham, Jr., with Isham 'Isam' in this appearance, right next door, and Allison.A different cluster involves Edmund Whitley, near the Castles and Henry Lowder. The Castles were relatives as a Martha Castles supposedly married George Whitley I, father of George II, Titus and Exodus. Also in this cluster is William Whitley, Sr and Mary Whitley, an older lady of 70 +, living with a man about 40 named J or G Mills.Nash County | PoliticsNC

I've definitely got to do more Whitley explorations, for a number of reasons. One, I've found that I share DNA with several descendants of a Meredith "Mereday" Whitley from Nash County, NC. Second, I share DNA with the descendants of the only Grandchild of Mary Whitley, the main subject of this post. Although I have no rock solid Whitley ancestry in my family tree, as of yet, I have two viable possibilities.I discovered that a lady named Fannie Robbins, widow of Isham Robbins, who had a close relationship with my ancestor, John Honeycutt, was born a Whitley and was a sister of George II. I believe that she was the mother of John Honeycutt's wife, Sylvia. Some have Sylvia pegged as a Cagle, and while the couple was a neighbor of some Cagles, my leanings are with her being a Robbins.The other possible connection is that of my 5th Great Grandmother, Piety (seen as "Phida" in the 1850 census) Lambert, maiden name unknown. Her husband, Elder John Lambert, was a resident of Johnston County, North Carolina before arriving to the area of Stanly County known as "Lambert". His connection as a Primitive Baptis Minister was under the tutelage of a Rev. Whitley in Johnston County and those Whitleys are related to the Stanly County Whitleys. In fact, some of them became Stanly County Whitleys. He also lived near a Drury Honeycutt, and of course, the Honeycutts also arrived, en masse, to Stanly County. If I took bets on what Piety's maiden name was, which I may never know for sure, my bets would be on either Whitley or Honeycutt.

While most of the Whitleys that pop up in 1840 or 1850 are attributed to George, Exodus Whitley definately had children. I believe Stephen Whitley was his, and we know he married Unity Gurley. But I also believe Isham and Cager the younger was probably his as well, and probably Johnathan.Where Mary Whitley of Anson County shows up and the Nash connection points me to the family of Exodus Whitley as her most likely origins. And the one Whitley who disappears between 1840 and 1850, who witnessed a deed with Exodus Whitley, and who doesn't pop up in another state, was Isham.So there is my theory of Mary Whitley. It's going to take a great deal more digging on my part before it is anything more than a substantive theory, but I believe Mary may have been the second wife of Isham Whitley. He most definately had a first one, and all of Mary's children were born after the murder of Patsy Beasley in 1844 and before she is alone with her three children in 1850.

Name:Mary Whitley
Birth Year:abt 1820
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:Diamond Hill, Anson, North Carolina
Post Office:Ansonville
Dwelling Number:133
Family Number:133
Personal Estate Value:25
Household Members:
Mary Whitley40
Sarah Whitley15
Rosa Whitley13
James Whitley11
Wm Thomson18

We last saw Mary in 1850 with her 3 children as youngesters. In 1860, we see her with them as teens. She has a laborer named William Thompson living with her.
Over the next decade, both daughters marry. Sarah will become the second wife of Robert Nance, a much older man with a large family. Robert was the son of Wyatt Nance.Rosa will marry Andrew Jackson Newton, son of David and Rosanna Haire Newton.There is no further trace of James Whitley. He may have been the 17 year old James Whitley killed in the Civil War, although he would have been too young, and more like 14 that year. Of course, many a young soldier had lied about their ages. If he were large enough to pass as older, it's possilbe, but I have no way to certify this and so all I know is that he disappears from record without trace.

Name:May Whitley
Age in 1870:49
Birth Year:abt 1821
Birthplace:North Carolina
Dwelling Number:91
Home in 1870:New Salem, Union, North Carolina
Post Office:Beaver Dam
Occupation:At Home
Cannot Write:Y
Household Members:
Robert L Nance62
Sarah Nance25
Sarah M Nance15
William Nance12
Colin M Nance10
Joseph H Nance6
May Whitley49

By 1870, Mary Whitley is living in the home of her daughter, Sarah Nance, with her son-in-law Robert Nance and his children. Sarah was not the mother of any of them, just the stepmother.

Name:Mary Whitley
Birth Date:Abt 1822
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1880:New Salem, Union, North Carolina, USA
Dwelling Number:339
Relation to Head of House:Self (Head)
Marital status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina
Occupation:Keeps House
Cannot Write:Yes
Household Members:
Mary Whitley58
Sarah E. Nance34

By 1880, Sarah is a young widow and she and her mother Mary are living in New Salem together.Daughter Rosie Whitley Newton passed away before 1874, when her husband remarries to his cousin, Sarah. She had one son, James David Newton.Sarah Whitley Nance passed away in 1882 at the age of 36, leaving a will and leaving everything to her nephew, James David Newton.It is quite possible that Mary Whitley outlived all of her children, however, she did not make it to 1900. The only grandchild she had that I can discover was J. D. Newton, and sometimes that is all you need to march into the future.I am very curious to Mary's origins because several of the descendants of her grandson share DNA with me and as of yet, I can't determine how. Not Yet.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have any information about a john stanley smith who was married to eliza caroline caroline Efird? I have searched for years trying to find who his parents are. He died after the civil war and they lived in Albermale. Do you have record of this couple??? My email is