Thomas BARTLETT c1730-1806

The Fauquier County, Virginia Years

by Jim Bartlett


       Thomas BARTLETT and his wife Anne brought their family of about 8 children to northern Fauquier Co, VA about 1768. They had 2 more children. In 1772 Thomas and Anne bought a large plantation and sold off parts of it, living on the remainder. At least 5 of their oldest children married in Fauquier Co from 1770 to 1790. Anne died in the mid-1770s, and Thomas married Sarah CARROLL in 1777. Thomas and Sarah had 5 children. In 1784 Thomas and Sarah sold the last of their land, and in 1785 moved to Harrison Co, VA. Two married daughters remained in Fauquier Co; and William and James didn’t move to Harrison Co until 1790.

The Early years in Fauquier County

       Thomas BARTLETT’s early life is very sketchy. Probably he was born, raised and married in Richmond Co, VA, and lived somewhere for about 18 years. Thomas and his wife, Anne, and their family probably moved to northern Fauquier County, Virginia during the summer of 1768, as the first known records are in February 1769. (It would have been much too hazardous to move a family any distance during the winter months during this colonial period.) You can imagine their stair-step family at that time - with 1-1/2 to 2 years separating each of the eight children - from the older, teenage daughters to infants: Susannah 16, Elizabeth 14, William 12, John 8, Thomas Jr 6, Benjamin 4, Sarah 3 and Robert 1. Perhaps Anne was caring for the newborn, or perhaps the smallest was just over a year old and Anne was again pregnant. Wherever they came from it must have been a trek, with all their belongings, along sometimes dusty, sometimes muddy, wagon trails. They would have carried their provisions and camped wherever they could. Perhaps they also owned some slaves, and they might have brought some cattle and horses. As with many settlers, they were moving inland, part of the push westward that developed the Colonies.
       They may have lived with other settlers in Fauquier County for the first 2 or 3 years (perhaps folks they already knew who had preceded them). Maybe Thomas initially built a rough log cabin near a river for them to get a roof over their heads and fresh water. In any case in March 1771, Thomas BARTLETT leased a large (1748 acres) tract of land from a Judson COOLEDGE of Maryland. Twelve months later, he bought this tract for 400 pounds “Sterling money of Great Britain”. Over the next few months, Thomas and his wife, Anne, “of Leeds Parish”, sold several portions of it , keeping 538 acres for their own Plantation. This tract was located in the northeastern part of Fauquier County, just north of The Plains, at the headwaters of the Little River (then called Hunger Run) and Cromwell’s Run. Their neighbors included John and Josiah FISHBACK, Jacob HOLTZCLAW, Major James BALL, Minor WINN and John HATHAWAY.
       Soon after they arrived in Fauquier County, perhaps within the first year, Thomas BARTLETT’s daughter, Susannah, (probably about 17 years old) married Reuben STROTHER, Sr. There appears to be no record of this marriage, but we can narrow down the date and place a lot by the facts we do know. Reuben STROTHER witnessed the Judson COOLEDGE to Thomas BARTLETT deed in March 1771 along with Sanford CARROLL, who by then was a son-in-law to Thomas BARTLETT. By witnessing this document, it shows he was of age, and it also indicates that he may have also been a son-in-law by then. Reuben and Susannah’s eldest daughter, Sarah (Sally) STROTHER married Henry POWELL in April 1787. About the youngest daughter Sarah would have been was 15, which would put her birth before 1772, and her parents marriage before 1771. Giving Susannah time to court after arriving in Fauquier County in 1768, let’s say she married around 1770, give or take a year.
       Reuben and Susannah STROTHER settled in Fauquier County and began raising a large family. They apparently had at least 12 children (11 of whom are named in his will).
       In February 1771, just a month before he first leased his Plantation, Thomas BARTLETT signed a marriage bond for his daughter Elizabeth (Betty), then probably about 17 years old, to marry Sanford CARROLL. Sanford CARROLL's family, headed by his father Dempse CARROLL, lived nearby in Loudoun County.
       It must have been quite a wedding with two large families and friends assembled. Elizabeth, would be on the arm of her father, Thomas, while her mother, Anne, about three months pregnant with James, would be sitting in the front row of the church, with Elizabeth’s eight brothers and sisters fidgeting in their seats. Sanford would have his father Dempse CARROLL and his step-mother Rebecca (HEATH) SMITH CARROLL in the front row on his side of the church, with his eight brothers and sisters and two half-sisters. Sanford's mother, Frances (SANFORD) CARROLL had passed away, and his father, Dempse CARROLL remarried. (As we shall see Dempse CARROLL's children became interwoven with the BARTLETT family.)
       Sanford and Elizabeth CARROLL also settled in Fauquier County. As noted above, Sanford witnessed the deed, in March 1772, when his father-in-law, Thomas BARTLETT, purchased land from Judson COOLEDGE. In December 1773, Sanford, in partnership with Sylvester WELCH, leased a tenement at the Pignut Ridge, on the waters of Broad Run of Occoquan, with 300 acres for a yearly rent of 1,000 pounds crop tobacco and cask. Sanford and Elizabeth CARROLL started raising a family, and had three young children, when Sanford died in 1777. At first Elizabeth probably took her young children and moved back in with her father. (As we shall see, her father had married Sanford's sister, Sarah CARROLL just months before Sanford died. What an extended family this would have been for the next few years...). Elizabeth evidently did not remarry right away, and her brother, John BARTLETT, probably after he married in 1780, took custody of the children, as they were later listed as his wards. Perhaps Elizabeth moved in with John in 1780 and cared for her children.
       In 1774, Thomas BARTLETT's eldest son William, married Sarah HATHAWAY. Although we don't have a marriage record to prove the date and the name, these can be deduced from the factual evidence. From William BARTLETT's Family Bible we know that Sarah was born in November 1759, and their eldest daughter, Nancy, was born in September 1775. Based on their first child's birthdate, William and Sarah's marriage would have probably been in late 1774, maybe just after Sarah's fifteenth birthday in November 1774.
       Sarah HATHAWAY's parents, John and Sarah L. (TIMBERLAKE) HATHAWAY, lived at The Plains, Fauquier County, evidently at least since 1765. They were neighbors to the Thomas BARTLETT family, and William would have known them well.
       This wedding, too, must have been a festive occasion. Sarah HATHAWAY had an older, married sister (Judith who had married the Reverend James KEMPER) and eight younger brothers and sisters. Her father, John, was prominent in the County, and her mother, Sarah, had just delivered her baby sister, Francis “Fanny” HATHAWAY in April 1774. William BARTLETT would have all of his nine brothers and sisters there, with several already married and his youngest brother, James about 3-l /2 years old. His proud father, Thomas, would be letting go of his eldest son.
       William and Sarah BARTLETT originally settled in Fauquier County, probably on part of the home Plantation, perhaps the 104 acres which Thomas later gave to his son in 1779.

The Revolutionary War years in Fauquier County

       During the period leading up to the Revolutionary War, or during the very early stages of the War, Thomas BARTLETT's wife, Anne, must have died. In l784 deeds in Fauquier County show Thomas BARTLETT, Sr and his wife Sarah selling the remainder of the original tract of land that Thomas and Anne had bought, and sold parts of, in 1772. So between 1772 and 1784 Thomas’ first wife Anne died, and he married a Sarah. Both Thomas, Sr. and Thomas, Jr. had wives named Sarah and this has led to a lot of confusion in the family history.
       There appears to be a record of only one Thomas-Sarah marriage - a marriage bond dated 2 January 1777 in Fauquier County, Virginia, between Thomas BARTLETT and Sanford CARROLL for the marriage of Thomas BARTLETT to Sarah CARRELL. (Sanford CARROLL signed the bond for his sister because his father had died the year before and Sanford was the eldest male available.) Based on the birth year of their eldest son, Sanford, in 1777 and the marriage dates of their eldest children (Mary, daughter of Thomas Sr. and Sarah, married in February 1797; Nancy, daughter of Thomas Jr. and Sarah married in October 1803 - 6-1/2 years later), it appears the 1777 marriage was Thomas Sr. Also, it appears that none of the Fauquier County records apply to a Thomas BARTLETT, Jr. - there should have been some reference to a Thomas Jr. if he was married and living in the county from 1777 to 1785.
       The family stayed in Fauquier County throughout the Revolutionary War period, and the family was obviously on the side of independence. The Account Book of Colonel William EDWARDS shows a certificate granted to Thomas BARTLETT of Fauquier County for 33 bushels of rye. Someone also filed with the DAR for service of Thomas' first son, William, and he is now listed by the DAR as a Patriot.
       One of Thomas’ sons to serve was John B. BARTLETT. He was probably born about 1760, and was only eight when the family moved to Fauquier County, Virginia. As a teenager, he certainly kept track of the storm clouds that were brewing between the Colonies and England. He and the boys he grew up with would have had strong feelings, and were understandably itching to join up and do their part. Besides that he'd spent his entire life with his father on the farm, and watched his older sisters and brother get married, move out of the house and settle down to their own farming. He wanted action! So when Independence was declared, and the new nation needed soldiers, John BARTLETT answered the call and enlisted as a private in the Virginia Infantry.
       After his military service, John BARTLETT married Anne BARKLEY in November 1780 in Fauquier County, Virginia. Anne was the daughter of William and Anne (STEPHENS) BARKLEY. Again we would have seen a large wedding party. On John’s side were his father Thomas, his step-mother Sarah (who was probably pregnant with her third child, Richard), and his nine brothers and sisters. Anne appears to be the eldest of at least eight children who grew to maturity - her younger siblings would be watching. William BARKLEY was also in the Revolutionary War, and after the War he moved with most of his family to live in Clark County, Kentucky.
       Although there is no record of them in Fauquier County, Virginia, John and Anne BARTLETT probably lived on his or her father’s farm for the next five years, while they started their family. At some point they also became the guardians of his sister, Elizabeth CARROLL’s young children.
       Thomas BARTLETT, Jr. is hard to trace in his early years. Based on the birthdates of his siblings, Thomas Jr. was probably born about 1763, and he married a Sarah in the early or mid 1780’s. It is not clear whether he married in or around Fauquier County or a little later, after he had moved west.
       The next son, Benjamin BARTLETT, was born about 1764. He also wanted to serve in the War, and like his older brother John, enlisted as a private in the Virginia Infantry. After the war, Benjamin married Mary CARROLL, probably around 1784 in Fauquier County. Her father was Dempsey CARROLL, who was also the father of Sanford CARROLL who married Benjamin’s sister, Elizabeth, in 1771; and the father of Sarah CARROLL who married Benjamin’s father, Thomas BARTLETT, in 1777. Both of these children were by Dempsey CARROLL’s first marriage to Frances SANFORD (probably where the SANFORD name comes into the family). Mary CARROLL’s mother was Dempsey CARROLL’s second wife, Rebecca (SMITH) HEATH. And the plot will further thicken later...
       Benjamin and Mary Ann probably lived with the BARTLETT’s or CARROLL’s for the next year while Thomas BARTLETT, Sr. prepared for the move west.

After the Revolution in Fauquier County

       Around 1782, or perhaps a little later, Sarah BARTLETT married George FOWKE. He was born in 1764 in King George County, Virginia, the son of Gerard and Elizabeth FOWKE. Sarah BARTLETT would have been about 17 years old at her marriage, which would put her birth at say 1765, and living most of her life on her father's Plantation in Fauquier County. She would have been about 10 when her mother, Anne, passed away. Since her two older sisters had married by 1771 and moved out, she would have been left with a lot of the household responsibility until her father remarried in 1777. And then just as she turned into her teenage years, her step-mother began having children.
       George and Sarah FOWKE settled at first in Fauquier County, Virginia. George FOWKE was named in both his parents wills in 1791 in Fauquier County, Virginia.
       Nancy Ann, the next daughter of Thomas and his first wife, Anne, was born about 1767, and was an infant when the family originally settled in Fauquier County. Like her older sister Sarah, she spent her childhood on the Plantation, and had plenty of responsibilities as part of such a large family. Around 1785 she married a Thomas HALL, who was from Fauquier County.
       Robert and James, the last two children of Thomas and Anne, were probably born after the family had settled in Fauquier County, about 1769 and 1771, respectively. They were too young to join the Revolution, but they weren’t too young to work on the farm...
       Thomas and second wife, Sarah, had a total of five children who survived. Most, if not all, were born on the Plantation in Fauquier County: Sanford in 1777; Mary about 1778, Richard in 1780, Permelia in 1782, and Jesse in 1785.

The final years in Fauquier County

       In 1783 Thomas BARTLETT is listed in the Fauquier County Personal Tax lists with 13 slaves, 11 horses and 25 cattle. In the following year he paid land tax on 434 acres of land - the Plantation he had lived on for the past 13 years. However Thomas was a pioneer in the truest sense, and he decided to move his family west again. He and Sarah would move to the new frontier in Harrison County in 1785 with most of their family.
       Five of Thomas BARTLETT’s children would stay, at least for the time being, in Fauquier County. Reuben and Susannah STROTHER already had six children by 1784, and they would stay in Fauquier County and raise at least twelve children. Elizabeth (BARTLETT) CARROLL, the 1777 widow of Reuben CARROLL, appears to have remarried to Thomas ASBURY, and they stayed in Fauquier County for several years before moving west. William and Sarah BARTLETT already had six children, and they would stay in Fauquier County for the next six years, and then move to Harrison County. George and Sarah FOWKE would also stay in Fauquier County until they moved to Montgomery County, Kentucky. And finally, James, then in his early teens, would also stay in Fauquier County, probably initially staying with one of his brothers or sisters, and later working on someone’s farm, until he married in 1790 and moved to Harrison County.
       The rest of Thomas’s children, ten in all, married and unmarried, would make the move west with him: John and Anne BARTLETT; Thomas and Sarah BARTLETT, Jr. (it’s not clear if he married before or after the move); Benjamin and Mary Ann BARTLETT; Nancy Ann (it’s not clear if she had already married Thomas HALL); Robert; Mary; Richard; Permelia; Sanford; and infant Jesse.

The move west to Harrison County in 1785

       In October 1784 Thomas and Sarah BARTLETT sold the last of their land in Fauquier County and prepared to move to Harrison County, in western Virginia. They probably waited for the spring of 1785 to begin their journey, perhaps until Jesse was born. And what a journey it must have been - from Fauquier County to the foothills of the Appalacian Mountains, along the established immigration wagon trails through the mountains to the West Fork River in Harrison County. This was all wilderness, and the threat of hostile action by Indians was real. The mountains were tortuous, with the wagon trail winding up and down valleys to reach the Eastern Continental Divide, and then down the watershed, toward the Ohio River. Just finding the land they planned to settle would pose a problem. But they made it and carved out homes in the mountainous forests, and started to farm - they needed to be able to feed themselves.

Further research:
When did Thomas first arrive in Fauquier Co? - check Fauquier tithables and taxes Where did Thomas come from, etc? - review migration patterns Plot 1742a tract, sold parts, Fauquier rivers/creeks, etc.; get a fix on tract & neighbors Resolve first record Feb or Aug 1769 Lease and Release: both in 1772? Fix initial land holdings in Harrison Co, locations and neighbors How/why did they get Land Grants?

Return to Archives Page
Return to Main Page
Page 1 of 5