Sunday, January 19, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 - Thomas Jollett

Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small has issued a challenge:  write one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor.  It can be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem – anything that focuses on one ancestor.

Last week I discussed William Jollett who purchased land in Orange County in 1736.  Here is where I stumble in my effort to connect the dots to my known ancestor James Jollett.  I am maybe a generation or two away.  Of course, it’s also possible the names I’ve found are collateral lines rather than direct.  But in the meantime I’ll amuse myself by believing I’m on the right track.  So let’s move on.

My James’s father COULD be Thomas Jollett who COULD be William’s son.  Here is why I think so:

First of all, Thomas was in the right neighborhood.  In 1745, he was listed on the receipts from an estate sale in Orange County.

In 1750 he was paid at least twice as a witness for the plaintiff in a court case:

Orange County Order Book 5:228
1750 -- On the motion of Thomas Jollett a witness for Thomas Houison Plaintiff against Henry Elly Defendant. It is ordered that the said Thomas Houison pay him one hundred & forty pounds of Tobacco for two days attendance and for coming thirty miles from Spotsylvania County & returning according to law.

Orange County Order Book 5:272
1750 -- On the motion of Thomas Jollett a witness for Thomas Houison Plaintiff against Henry Elly Defendent. It is ordered that the said Houison pay him forty-nine pounds of Tobacco for one days attendance & coming over eight miles from Culpeper County according to Law.

Secondly, there’s the 100 acres William purchased in Orange in 1736.  In 1786, Thomas alienated 150 acres to James Jolley/Jollett in Culpeper County.  Culpeper was carved out of Orange in 1749, so MAYBE this is the same land. 

Finally, the absence of Thomas Jollett in tax records after 1788, both land and personal, provides a strong argument for his being older than James and therefore, possibly James’s father.  For several years, James and Mary were side by side paying personal property taxes in Orange.  Mary is most likely his mother.  

Fortunately I have better evidence for that conclusion:  marriage records.  In several documents she is listed as mother of the bride and James as Bondsman.  See – no father. 

Using marriage records alone, I have constructed this POSSIBLE family of my known 4G grandfather:
Thomas JOLLETT (about 1725 -about 1788) and Mary UNKNOWN
  1. Susannah JOLLETT (about 1762 - ) married James BRIANT 1782 Culpeper County, Virginia
  2. James JOLLETT (about 1765 – before 1850) married Nancy WALKER 1787 Culpeper County, Virginia
  3. Sophia JOLLETT (about 1771 - ) married Cuthbert NORMAN 1791 Culpeper County, Virginia
  4. Judy JOLLETT (about 1772 - ) married William CAVE 1791 Orange County, Virginia
  5. Elizabeth JOLLETT (about 1773 - ) married William EATON 1793 Orange County, Virginia 

While I want to feel good about this little constellation, there is another Jollett family out there, James and Gracey.  “Gracey” doesn’t fit with the marriage records though, so possibly this James is Thomas’s brother.  Maybe?  And then there’s a Mary Jollett who at age 18 married John Dodgens Forrester in 1768, making her too old to have been a sibling in my imagined family.  A cousin?  A sister to Thomas? 

Sigh – more work to be done!

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Possible and Imagined Family...finally some 'Genealogy' terminology that works for me...that's kind of like 4th cousins 3x removed or re-shuffled...right? Some of this Jollett shuffle would sure make for a good game of poker with James and Gracey holding the Ace of Spades. I like this 52 Ancestors thing. Good job.

    1. I have to be careful that I don't lapse into thinking the imagined family is fact. It's boots to ground time!

  2. Puzzling isn't it....I like the 52 also :)

  3. There are so many mysteries. I'm amazed by the research you do! It's very inspiring.

    1. Oh you make me laugh. Inspiring, all right. Maybe I inspire people to find a different hobby.

  4. I hope you figure it out. Do we need to take a trip somewhere to figure this out? Or should we just take a trip somewhere? HA! I know you will find the answers girl.

    1. A trip to somewhere sounds good. But I think LVA in Richmond is the first stop. I spent far too long ignoring "Jolley" or "Jolly" as alternative spellings, so the answers might be right there.

  5. It is amazing how much information there is out there, and I have also run into a couple of road blocks, but then with some sort of luck, or whatever, I get sailing correctly again. Maybe you can clear up my question about what to do with our link once we've posted. I am so confused with that. I just wrote and posted my second blog post for 52 Ancestors, but then I have to let Amy know, right? Not sure I left my link right for the second post. I want to keep joining, but have to clear that up! I sure would appreciate your help! Thanks.

    1. I think as long as you have "52 Ancestors" in the title she'll find you and add you to her Feedly. I also tweet it and post in the Genealogy Bloggers group on Facebook.