Thomas Fawcett (1747/8-~1822)
Today is the 268th anniversary of the birth of Thomas Fawcett. He was born on 24th day 1st month 1748 in Frederick County Virginia. He was the second of six children of Richard Fawcett and Rachel Ireson.
Thomas was born into the Society of Friends, known to us as the Quaker faith. Double dating was still in effect when he was born, so not only does his birth date involve double dating listing the year as 1747/8 and March as the 1st month of the year (see posts on Thankful Badcock and Joseph Johnson for an explanation of double dating), it was also formally recorded void of any name for the month. The Quakers did not use names for the days of the weeks or the months of the year since most of these names were derived from pagan gods. So, while we may list Thomas’ birth date as March 24, 1748 (or if you are into genealogy, as 24 March 1748) it was recorded in records of his time as “24 da 1 mo 1747/8.” These variations from our modern way of writing dates can lead to a lot of confusion. One must be very careful when reviewing transcribed records, because often the people transcribing the records from the original record books did not take into account the date variations.
Because there were several men with the name Thomas Fawcett, and because he lived at Crooked Run, Virginia, this Thomas was called “Crooked Run Tommy.”
Thomas married to Martha Branson in 1769 in Frederick County, Virginia. Getting married required several steps at that time in the Quaker faith. There was a process to go through and approvals to get before a couple could marry.
On “the 5th day of the 12th mo. 1768,” in other words 5 December 1768, Thomas and Martha came to a meeting of Friends to “declare their intention to marry.” Note, these dates continue to be confusing…By the time they married, the law had changed to have everyone on the Gregorian calendar. So, another lesson on those pesky calendars… 1751 began on 25 March 1751 and ended on 31 December 1751 which was immediately followed by 1 January 1752. So for Colonists making this change, 1751 was a very short year. But regardless the date, the couple came forward publicly declaring their intentions.
A month later, on 2 January 1769, they came back to again declare their intentions. Since this was the second time they’d declared their intentions, a committee was appointed to look into the matter to make sure they could be approved for marriage.
Finally, a couple weeks later, on 11 January 1769, they were given the all clear and the marriage was certified. He promised to be a “loving and faithful husband” and she promised to be a “loving and faithful wife” and the meeting attendees (both men and women) signed as witnesses.
Thomas and Martha Fawcett had thirteen children.
- John Fawcett was born on 14 Jan 1770 in Frederick, Virginia. He married Mary Painter on 11 Jun 1792 in Frederick, Virginia (Crooked Run). He died in 1815 in Richland, Belmont, Ohio.
- Richard Fawcett was born on 22 Sep 1771 in Frederick, Virginia. He married Eunice Fernly on 12 Feb 1792 in Frederick, Virginia (Crooked Run). He died on 26 Aug 1845 in Columbiana, Ohio.
- Martha Fawcett was born on 03 Nov 1773 in Frederick, Virginia. She died in 1847 in Jefferson, Ohio.
- Rachel Fawcett was born on 06 Oct 1775 in Frederick, Virginia. She married Darling Conrow on 16 May 1796 in Frederick, Virginia (Crooked Run). She died on 24 Feb 1834 in Frederick, Virginia.
- David Fawcett was born on 27 Nov 1776 in Frederick, Virginia. He married Phebe Lupton on 13 Sep 1798 in Frederick, Virginia. He died on 30 Oct 1836 in Goshen, Belmont, Ohio.
- Hannah Fawcett was born on 17 Nov 1778 in Frederick, Virginia. She married William Fernley on 16 May 1796 in Frederick, Virginia (Crooked Run). She married Benjamin Vail on 05 May 1813 in Plainfield, Belmont, Ohio. She died on 28 Sep 1860 in Plainfield, Belmont, Ohio.
- Lydia Fawcett was born on 13 Oct 1781 in Frederick, Virginia. She married John Horner on 16 Jan 1802 in Washington, Maryland. She died on 02 Aug 1857.
- Thomas Fawcett was born on 15 Nov 1783 in Frederick, Virginia. He died on 25 Jul 1793 in Frederick, Virginia.
- Joseph Fawcett was born on 26 Apr 1786 in Frederick, Virginia. He married Mary Branson on 21 Dec 1813 in Hopewell Monthly Meeting, Frederick, Virginia. He died on 04 Mar 1864 in Frederick, Virginia.
- Mary Fawcett was born on 03 Jul 1788 in Frederick, Virginia. She married Richard Carter on 31 Mar 1819 in Plainfield, Belmont, Ohio. She died before 1822.
- Eunice Fawcett was born on 10 Oct 1790 in Frederick, Virginia. She died on 22 Jun 1791 in Frederick, Virginia.
- Eunice Fawcett was born on 19 May 1792 in Frederick, Virginia. She married Stacy Bevan on 04 Apr 1818 in Plainfield, Belmont, Ohio. She died between 1838–1840 in Belmont, Ohio.
- Thomas Fawcett was born on 16 Feb 1795 in Frederick, Virginia. He married Rachel Vail on 02 Nov 1815 in Plainfield, Belmont, Ohio. He died on 22 Jan 1865 in Belmont, Ohio.
Besides leaving a lot of paperwork to make modern day genealogists drool, the Quakers had many strong customs and beliefs that may not be commonly understood. Here are just a few:
- Quakers were required to marry within the Society of Friends. They could not marry outside of their faith. In 1753, Hardwicke’s Marriage Act 1753 was passed whereby marriages had to be approved by the Church of England to be legally recognized. Only Jews and Quakers were exempt from the law.
- Quakers were pacifists not only in public life, but also in their private lives. They didn’t bear arms, join the militia, pay war taxes or even “threaten to strike a fellow creature.”
- Quakers were NOT forbidden to drink alcohol. Hooray! They were forbidden to drink to excess though.
- Quakers were anti-clerical and believers of the inner light. They thought that every man and woman had an inner capacity to understand the Word of God and to offer opinions on spiritual matters. They did not believe that they needed the involvement of ministers to talk to God. They did record ministers if someone was born with a talent to minister, but they didn’t ordain anyone.
- Quakers were strong believers in action by committee. They appointed committees for everything imaginable.
- Quakers did believe in plainness of dress, word and speech. Thus very plain dress and speech containing “thee” and “thou.”
- Quakers were committed to democracy and equality. Their equality for women was a concept of separate by equal until long after Thomas Fawcett’s life, so Women’s Meetings were separate, but they had their own officers, kept their own minutes and issued their own certificates.
Removal to Ohio
Thomas and his wife were both active members of their Quaker Meetings in Frederick County Virginia but eventually removed to Ohio. Ohio became a state in 1803 and the area was opened up for settlers. Steamboat travel brought pioneers up the Ohio River and down Lake Erie. Canals, roads, and railroads were being built to open up the northeastern part of the state..
On 3 10 Mo 1814 (3 October 1814), Thomas and Martha, and their son, Thomas, received a certificate of removal from the Hopewell Monthly Meeting in Virginia to the Plainfield Monthly Meeting in Ohio. They presented their certificate at Plainfield on 24 12 Mo 1814 (24 December 1814). In those days, people couldn’t just decide to move from one town to another. In the Quaker faith, they had to go to a meeting, make a request for a certificate of removal, and have it approved. Then when they showed up at their new home, they had to present the certificate to be allowed to stay.
Thomas Fawcett died about 1822 in Richland, Belmont County, Ohio when he was about 73 years old. He left a will and his estate was probated in Belmont, Ohio. In his will, Thomas provided for his wife Martha, his daughters Lydia, Eunice, Martha, Rachel, and Hannah; sons Thomas, Joseph, John, Richard, and David; and granddaughter, Mary. He also asked that they settle his estate in a “friendly manner.”
His wife, Martha Branson Fawcett, in addition to other things, was given “use of the house and kitchen,” and “the garden” for the rest of her life. She got to keep possession of his “household and kitchen furnature my wearing apparel and watch.” He ordered his son, Thomas, to take care of his mother since he had received a large share of the estate. He was to “annually provide for her as she made need it” things like “sugar made at the sugar camp near the house,” six barrels of good flour, forty bushels of corn “ground or not as she may wish it,” three hundred pounds pork, a hundred pounds of beef, and twenty dollars. Martha also got to continue to use the carriage and two horses, two milk cows and six sheep. Thomas also left his wife $30 a year to be paid to her by the executors of the estate.
His children and granddaughter shared other parts of his estate including the land and movable property that he still owned in Virginia. He appointed his sons Joseph and Thomas, and his son-in-law Benjamin Vail, to be executors of his estate.
After writing his will he added a codicil bequeathing the Society of Friends $50.
Where is he in the tree?
Ancestry.com, Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015), Ancestry.com, Will Records, 1804-1919 ; General Index to Estates, 1801-1935; Author: Ohio. Probate Court (Belmont County); Probate Place: Belmont, Ohio.
Ancestry.com, U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014), ancestry.com, Swarthmore College; Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; Births and Burials 1785; Collection: Baltimore Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: RG2/B/C761 3.1.
“The Quaker Calendar.” Swarthmore College Friends Historical Library. Web. 24 March 2016. http://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library/quaker-calendar.