We see a lot of websites out there listing definitive birth and/or death dates for Abel Thaxton and his wife Lucy. To our knowledge, those dates are not correct. While we did conclude that Abel had to be born BEFORE 1710, the word “before” has been lost along the way. In fact, as stated below, we believe it more likely that he was born at least a few years earlier. Also, we concluded that he died BEFORE May 1767, due to a reference to Lucy as “widow” in a court record of that month. Again, we are now seeing that characterized as a death date of May 1767. We indicated a belief that Lucy Thaxton had died BY 1781, when her daughters rather than Lucy were left some tobacco in the will of Stephen Davis. We are now seeing a death date stated of 1781. We also see a lot of references to Lucy’s maiden name being Davis. While we believe that to be true, to our knowledge it has not been definitively confirmed.
To help clear up some of these misconceptions, we are reprinting here the original *draft* summary of information that we circulated almost 25 years ago about Abel and Lucy after spending an entire summer reading Prince Edward County, Va., order books page by page, along with Goochland records, etc. (We have the book and page cites but just had not filled them in.)
of Goochland and Prince Edward Co., Virginia
Abel Thaxton was an early resident of Goochland Co., Va., and later Prince Edward (P E) Co., Va. We believe Abel was the progenitor of a large branch of Virginia Thaxtons, as explained below.
The first record we have of Abel is his appearance as a defendant in a lawsuit brought in 1731 by a local merchant of Goochland County. (Goochland Co. Order Bk 2, pp. 146, 165, 186. Abel was "not to be found.") If he was of legal age when suit was brought against him, Abel would have been born by 1710. We believe he may have been a few years
older, which would make him 21 or older when his first child was born about 1730.
Goochland was formed in 1727 from Henrico Co., Virginia. It appears that Abel lived in the area of Goochland County near the Henrico County border. In a 1743 land deed, Abel was said to be of the "parish and County of Henrico" when he purchased land in Goochland County from John Williamson Jr. and his wife Mary of Princess Anne Co., Virginia.
(Goochland Deed Bk 4, p. 164). When Abel sold part of that land in 1748, the purchaser, Joseph Lewis, also said he was of the county and parish of Henrico. (Goochland Deed Bk 5, p. 483).
We are hoping to determine the location of Abel's land in Goochland from early maps and the land descriptions of his neighbors. In 1750, Abel and eleven neighbors were charged with determining whether a proposed mill would adversely affect landowners in their area. (Goochland Co. Deed Bk ____). Those who signed the document with Abel were William Pledge, James Mayo, John and Tucker Woodson, John Clarkson, Jeffrey Clarke, John Payne, William Farrar, Benjamin Bratcher, John Johnson, and John Woodall.
Early records of Goochland County suggest that Abel Thaxton was probably the father of James and John Thaxton, discussed in separate sections below [not posted here]. In May 1743, Abel Thaxton and John Thaxton both testified as
witnesses for Thomas Wharton in an action against Stephen Hughes in Goochland County. For five days' attendance, each received 125 pounds of tobacco. (Goochland Co Ct Order Bk ___, p. ___). In 1746, John Thaxton was named as a tithable in the household of Abel Thaxton. James Thaxton was included as a tithable in Abel's household in 1748. At that time, Virginia tithable lists included the head of household and all other males over the age of 16 in the household.
For reasons set forth in their respective sections [not posted here], we also believe Abel may have been the father of several other early Virginia Thaxtons, including Thomas (1744), William (174-), Sarah (175-) and Elizabeth (175-) Thaxton, and the grandfather of George (176-) and William (1767) Thaxton.
Abel appeared in various records during the 1750s. In 1754, Abel witnessed a land deed between John Bybee and wife Jean of Albemarle County to Charles Massie of Hanover County, involving land on France Smith's line to John Right's line to "Simeses" line. Other witnesses to the deed were John McBride and John Forrester. (Goochland Deed Bk 6, p.
430). Abel was named as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by Robert Hughes in Cumberland Co., Virginia, in 1753 (Cumberland Co Order Bk ___ , p. 106); and by Gervas Elam in Goochland County in 1755. (Goochland Co Ct Orders 1750-57, p. 572). In 1757, Abel was one of the appraisers of the estate of _________.
Also in 1757, Abel sold his remaining land in Goochland County to the Rev. William Douglas. (Goochland Deed Bk 7, p. 147, deed proved 17 May 1757). The deed identifies the land as follows: "at present possessed by the said Abel Thackston, lying on the forks of Janeto Creek & Beaverdam, & Bounded on the South side by William Woodhalls plantation, on the East by lands belonging to Benjamin Watkins, on the North by lands belonging to Joseph Lewis, & on the West by a plantation of John Woodrums," all in St. James' parish. In the process of recording the deed, a statement from Abel appears: "Received day & date within Written of the Revnd William Douglas the Sum of Twenty One Pounds, thirteen Shillings & eleven pence current Money being in full consideration for the lands & premises within mentioned." Witnesses to the deed were Robert Payne, Richard Fleming, and Margrat Huddleston.
In November 1757, Abel testified for the defendant in a lawsuit by _____ Harris against August Webber, and was paid 100 pounds of tobacco for four days' attendance. (Goochland Co Ct Order Bk 2, p. 115). In May 1758, a jury trial was held in an action brought by Lewis Johnston Parker against Abel. The plaintiff, Parker, brought his account book,
but the jury did not consider it sufficient evidence of debt. Abel was awarded five shillings for his costs. (cite)
Shortly afterward, Abel and family relocated to neighboring Prince Edward (P E) Co., Virginia. On 11 Sep 1759, two justices of the peace from P E interviewed Abel's wife Lucy on behalf of the Goochland County Court to obtain her relinquishment of her dower right in the land sold earlier to Douglas, who now wished to sell it to John Norris. (Goochland Deed Bk 8, p. 33; Goochland Co Ct Order Bk 2, p. 257).
The first reference we have to Abel in P E records is a 1761 deed in which he bought 295 acres of land on both sides of Falling Creek from Charles and Frances Gilliam of St. Patrick Parish in P E. (P E Deed Bk 2, p. 189). That year, Abel was sued by Buchanan Bowman & Co., merchants. Theodrick Carter served as his bondsman. (P E Co Ct Order Bk 2, pp. 94, 101, 107). Freeman Lewelling and Robert Hastie & Co. both brought suit against Abel in 1762. (P E Co Ct Order Bk 2, pp. 157, 169). In May 1763, Abel was sued by Matthew and Ann Turpin. (P E Co. Ct Order Bk 2, pp. 220, 233-34).
We have found no later references to Abel. We believe he died by May 1767, for several reasons. First, he had appeared somewhat regularly in court records, and suddenly stopped after May 1763. By early 1767, we find references in county court records to "Mrs. Thaxton," also called "widow Thaxton" and Lucy Thaxton. (P E Co Ct Order Bks ___). In November 1767, John Thaxton sold Abel's 295 acres to William Thaxton. (P E Deed Bk 3, p. 256).
Lucy Thaxton appears in a few P E County Court records in connection with roads that ran from her residence to other parts of the county. In May 1767, it was "Ordered that John Porter do survey Bedford road from Mrs Thaxtons to Vaughn's Creek . . .." (P E Co Ct Order Bk 3, p. 14). The following month, the court "Ordered that Henry Caldwell do survey the highway from his district to the widow Thaxton's with the male tiths of Joel Elam and Thomas Smith." (P E Co Ct Order Bk 3, p. 20). Land records show that Joel Elam's land bordered Abel's 295 acres.
In June 1777, Lucy Thaxton, Sally Thaxton, and Betty Thaxton "came into Court and were severally sworn, depose that they were present the day William Davis deceased departed this life, that they were called on by the said William Davis to bear Testimony of his noncupative Will, which was in these words 'That it was his will and desire and gave the whole of his Estate to his brother Nicholas Davis.' Ordered that the same recorded." (P E Co Ct Order Bk 5, p. 513). A few years later, Sarah and Elizabeth were each bequeathed 1000 pounds of tobacco by the will of
Stephen Davis, father of the William and Nicholas Davis referred to in the previous court record. (cite). We believe there may have been a connection between Lucy Thaxton and this Davis family, especially considering the important transactions which occurred between her family and theirs.
We have read every page of the P E County Court Order Books from 1754 through 1831, but have not learned when Lucy Thaxton died. The last reference to Lucy in the order books is the 1777 record involving William Davis. William Thaxton, who purchased Abel's 295 acres from John Thaxton in 1767, did not sell the land until 1781. We believe
William might have waited to sell the land (which Lucy may have lived on) until Lucy's death. That conclusion is consistent with the fact that Stephen Davis left property to Lucy's daughters, but not to Lucy, the same year.
An update: Since then, a few new sources have popped up for Abel, some references to him in deed records as a witness or neighbor. And a Chancery Court record involving the Davis family provides more information about Abel and Lucy’s daughters Sally and Elizabeth Thaxton. In 1779, John Gilchrist deeded essentially his entire estate to his father-in-law, Stephen Davis. Years later, a creditor of Gilchrist sued, seeking to invalidate the deed. Among others, depositions were taken of Sarah Thaxton:
and Elizabeth Thaxton:
An inference could be drawn that Sarah Thaxton was living with Stephen Davis at the time of the conversation in 1779, given that she saw him both before and after he returned, or at least that she interacted extensively with him.
Also, Nicholas Davis charged Stephen Davis’s estate for “boarding” for “Sally” and “Betty” Thaxton for six weeks in 1784, confirming that Stephen had been their caretaker: