Thursday, April 11, 2013

Men of the Same Name - Thomas Proctor

How many men of the same name can live in one community at the same time?  Sometimes there are more than you might suspect.  There were multiple Thomas Proctors living in Logan County, Kentucky, in the first half of the 1800's and earlier researchers have tried to meld some of them together, separated records which obviously belonged to the same person, and in other cases made father-son relationships when their ages made such a relationship impossible..   I must admit I'm not sure of one of the relationships, either, but I do know that the following Thomas Proctors are very different men.

The oldest Thomas Proctor living in Logan County in the early 1800's, according to newspaper accounts by George D. Blakey that have been compiled as Men Whom I Remember, Logan County, KY,  was one of four brothers who had come to Logan County - Hezekiah, Benjamin, John, and Thomas.  As a child, Mr. Blakey had known most of the men he wrote presumably he knew these men were brothers. There was a family of Proctors in Spotsylvania County that had among their family of fourteen children, sons with these given names and about the same suggested ages - the patriarch was George.  I have nothing other than circumstantial evidence, and a Bible page transcription that lists births of sons but doesn't have the parents name, but I believe it quite possible this is their family in Spotsylvania. Research indicates that Thomas and Hezekiah, and some of the other brothers, had certainly lived in Fayette County in the 1790's before relocating to Logan County.  At least two genealogies in print have artificially placed Thomas was the father of Hezekiah, Ben, and John, in Logan County, but they were too close in age for that to be possible.  Some have actually divided this poor Thomas into two different men.

The elder Thomas was born 22 April 1766, if the Bible record is his, and he moved to Logan County by about 1797; he died in Jun of 1841 in Logan County, leaving a will.  He was married three times, and the will supports division of his children in such a way that it indicates children by each of his wives.  Records of early Kentucky are sparse.   However, I believe Thomas first married Polly O'Neal, daughter of Robert O'Neal, 1 September 1785, in Lincoln County. In 1788, both Robert O'Neal and Thomas Proctor were on the same tax list, Fayette County, and fragments of the burned deeds from Fayette reveal they lived adjacent to each other.  A son, William, was born to Thomas & Polly, but he was deceased before 1841; and there was a daughter Nancy.   Thomas married second to Sally Haden, daughter of William Haden, probably about 1798 - a record that would have been destroyed in the fire in the county clerk's home in Fayette in 1804.  The same deed fragments from Fayette show that William Haden was in that neighborhood with O'Neal and Proctor, and the settlement of William Haden's estate in Logan County over a lengthy period reveal that his daughter Sally had been married to Thomas Proctor and had three daughters with him before her death prior to 1808 - daughters also named in Thomas Proctor's will.  There are multiple records certifying Sally had only three Proctor daughters in spite of many online databases that ascribe various other children to the couple.  On 27 Oct 1808, Logan County, Thomas married Rebecca Maxwell, daughter of William Maxwell.  Thomas and Rebecca had at least three children who survived Thomas, Elizabeth, Josephine, and Thomas E. Proctor.

That brings us to the second Thomas - Thomas E. Proctor, mentioned last in his father's will, and quite possibly his youngest child.  There is a deed for 287 acres between father and son, 22 Jun 1837, so Thomas E. had probably reached his majority so born say about 1816 - the early census records support a son in the household of this approximate age.  Records of Logan Co specifically record his name several times as "Thomas E. Proctor".  He lived alone in the 1840 census, age 20-30, and could be the Thomas Proctor who married Jane Littlejohn in Logan Co, 28 Dec 1846 - one record that did not have the middle initial.  Other than this marriage, I have found no record of Thomas E. after the proving of his father's will in 1841.  He was not in Logan Co in 1850, nor can be sorted from many Thomas Proctors living elsewhere.

Now, there was a man consistently recorded as Thomas Proctor "Junior" living in Logan County at the same time as the elder Thomas who was certainly not his son Thomas E.  The heirs of William Haden sold 150 acres to Thomas Jr. in 1827 - a transaction which had been done before William Haden's death in 1819, but no deed made out.  (This is one of the several documents that lists the three daughters of Sally Haden Proctor, one of whom had already married and died by 1827.)  A Thomas Proctor married Polly Collins, 20 August 1810.  The 1830 Logan County census had two Thomas Proctor and written in the margin next to the younger Thomas is "Little".  This Thomas and wife Polly moved to Missouri about 1838 - there was considerable exodus from Logan County to Missouri in the late 1830's, early 1840's, to include my husband's Hadens, but the families ended up in various places in Missouri and it doesn't seem to have been any sort of group move.  Thomas and Polly were in Lafayette County, Missouri, 1840 through 1870.  The censuses give us an approximate birth year for this Thomas Proctor as 1783 and born in Kentucky - if correct, he was born two years before Thomas Proctor the elder married Polly O'Neal. Unfortunately most have assumed Thomas Jr was a son of the elder Thomas.  He was not mentioned in the will of the elder Thomas, only the younger Thomas E. Proctor.  He may well have been a nephew.   The will of Hezekiah Proctor written 13 Jun 1830 did not name a son Thomas, although he gave small amounts to children that had received shares, and mentioned deceased children - I doubt that he omitted any of his children.  Benjamin Proctor also left a will dated 4 Sep 1840 in Logan County and states that the balance of the estate is to be divided among his eight living children, including a son named Thomas who was to be one of the executors - but he certainly wasn't the Thomas Proctor Jr. who married Polly Collins, to be shown next.   Little is known about the fourth brother - John Proctor - as he didn't leave us a will in Logan County, nor have I found an estate settlement for him.  In his articles recalling these early men of Logan County, George D. Blakey stated that John had lived on the Red River - it is possible his lands became part of Butler County.   If I have correctly identified the family of the four Proctor brothers, they had other brothers as well - William, George, and Charles - so there are other possibilities for a father for Thomas Procter, born circa 1783.  He may have been of no relation, given the use of the term "Junior" for a younger man of the same name as an older man of the community.

Benjamin Proctor's son Thomas was born circa 1809, and is consistently characterized in the Logan County records as Thomas L. S. Proctor.  He signed as executor of his father's estate with those initials.  T. L. S. Proctor was still living in Logan County as late as the 1880 census.  He was certainly not "Thomas Jr", nor was he "Thomas E".  His wife was Agnes, probably Agnes Carson, and they had at least seven children, to include a Thomas Monroe Proctor, born about 1841.  I have not researched Thomas Monroe further as he records would not have overlapped those of the Thomases above.

Still another Thomas Proctor lived in Logan County in the 1800's - he was a grandson of Hezekiah Proctor through Hezekiah's son George.  In 1850, George was living in Logan County and had a son Thomas, born about 1837.  George left a will written in 1851, but did not name all the children in his household in 1850.  The 1880 Logan Co census has Thomas, unmarried, but as the head of a household which includes his adult sisters.

Anyone wishing more information about the Logan County records of these Thomas Proctors may contact me.  My email address can be found on the profile page of this Blog or on my webpages linked from the Blog.