Jesse Chavis, Saponi Indian from Granville County – An Update!

I have a major update and correction to the genealogy of Jesse Chavis (1766-1840) of Granville County. This is a big breakthrough for Chavis, Gibson, and Granville County researchers. And what I will discuss below is a major correction to the genealogy that researcher Paul Heinegg has provided for Jesse Chavis. As I’ve shown in other blog posts, researchers sometimes conflate the records of multiple people who happen to share the same name into a single person. I can confirm that Jesse Chavis of Granville County was NOT the son of Elizabeth Chavis of Amelia and Mecklenburg Counties, VA. Instead Jesse Chavis was from the family of Granville community founders William Chavis and his wife Frances Gibson.


The Wrong Jesse Chavis

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This is the genealogy that Paul Heinegg presented for Jesse Chavis. He conflated two different Jesse Chavises into one person. Source:

In his section on the Chavis family, Paul Heinegg wrote about a woman named Elizabeth Chavis (b. 1751) who lived in southside Virginia and was the mother of several children born out of wedlock. On 13 November 1769, Elizabeth Chavis had a son named Jesse Chavis who was bound out. No other information is provided as to what happened to Jesse Chavis after he was bound out. As you can see from the text above, no additional records are provided on this Jesse Chavis of Mecklenburg County. What Heinegg then does is assume that a Jesse Chavis who appears in the Granville County records is the same Jesse Chavis who was bound out in Mecklenburg County. This is not an unfair assumption to make because Mecklenburg County shares an important border with Granville County and many of the Native families in Granville that I have discussed came from Mecklenburg. However Heinegg provides no records to demonstrate that the Jesse Chavises are indeed the same person. In the following sections, I will examine the records of Jesse Chavis more closely and present some new records that I found which help to sort out this mix up.


The Family of William Chavis (1709-1777)

Jesse Chavis family tree.001
Family Tree of Jesse Chavis (1766-1840). All of these family relationships are explained in this blog post. © Kianga Lucas

I have referenced William Chavis (1709-1777) many times in previous blog posts though I have yet to write a full blog solely dedicated to him. The reason for this is that I’m still gathering and analyzing records related to William Chavis. He is such an important ancestor not only for Granville County but for other Native communities as well, so I want to make sure I get it right.

William Chavis was the original land owner of a massive, continuous tract of land that he likely received directly from John Cateret, 2nd Earl of Granville in the 1740s. Local Granville/Vance County historian Oscar W. Blacknall (1852-1918) wrote about the Native American identity of William Chavis and his massive land holdings which I previously discussed here. It is the Chavis land tract that provided the original land base for the Native community. William Chavis’ wife was Frances Gibson (1700-1780), who was the daughter of Gibby Gibson (1660-1727) originally from the Charles City County, VA area. Before marrying William Chavis, Frances Gibson had a son named John Smith.

William Chavis Original Land Tract
Granville County’s Native American community founder William Chavis originally owned land that stretched from Lynch’s Creek 16 miles upstream to Fishing Creek and went 5 miles inland from the Tar River. This is approximately 80 square miles or 51,200 acres of continuous land. This was the land base for the community. © Kianga Lucas

Perhaps most importantly, William Chavis was part of a group of Saponi Indians who were documented several times in the colonial records in the 1750s and 1760s, living in Granville County next to the land of Indian trader Col. William Eaton. I have previously blogged about these records here and here. I can’t stress enough how important this documentation is for establishing that not only were these individuals identified as Saponi, but they were collectively identified as a recognized Saponi Nation. These were not random individuals living together who just happened to be Native Americans. These were individuals that were deeply connected through a shared national identity. And these documents are from the 1750s/1760s which is many decades after the closure of Fort Christanna located in Brunswick County, VA which was the site of the Saponi reservation that the colony established.

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1754 census of Native Americans in North Carolina shows 14 men, 14 women, and children of the Saponi (“Sapona”) living in Granville County. Source:

Together William Chavis and Frances Gibson had the following children (birth dates are approximations):

1. Phillip Chavis (b. 1726)– executor of his father William Chavis’ estate and sold what was left of his father’s land. Philip moved around a lot between North Carolina and South Carolina, eventually settling in Bladen Co (later Robeson Co). He is the common ancestor of the Chavises of the Lumbee Tribe and Tuscarora of Robeson County.

2. Sarah Chavis (1730-1785)– married to Edward Harris and received a parcel of her father William Chavis’ land which her children later sold. Many of Sarah’s descendants remained in Granville and Wake Counties. Sarah Chavis and Edward Harris were also my 6th great-grandparents.

3. Gibby/Gideon Chavis (1737-1777)– namesake of Gibbs Creek in Granville/Vance Co off of the Tar River. He was married to Ann Priddy and because he died somewhat young (according to historian O.W. Blacknall, he was killed as a result of a horse race), his three children were looked after by his widow’s family. One of his sons named William Chavis eventually moved away by 1785 to South Carolina or Georgia (according to a letter written to the British Claims Commission). Heinegg guesses but does not firmly assert that Gibby’s son William Chavis married Sarah Kersey in 1790 and lived in Wake Co but this is not correct. After William Chavis sold his father Gibby Chavis’ land in 1785, he moved out of state.

4. William Chavis Jr (b. 1741)– was married to a woman named Ellender (maiden name not known) and by the 1780s, relocated down to Bladen (Robeson ) Co with his brother Philip Chavis. It is unknown if he had any surviving children.

5. Lettice Chavis (1742-1814)– was married to Aquilla Snelling and their descendants are mostly found in neighboring Wake Co and some relocated to Tennessee and Kentucky.

6. Keziah Chavis (b. 1742) – was married to Asa Tyner. Asa Tyner and his father-in-law William Chavis had a very tumultuous relationship which will be discussed in more detail below. Keziah’s descendants remained in Granville Co and many later moved out to Stokes/Forsyth Cos, NC.

7. Fanny Chavis – she appears on a tax list in her father William Chavis’ household in 1761 but nothing is known about her after that and she is not named in William Chavis’ estate papers.

Because William Chavis was a substantial land owner, tax payer, and had a close relationship with Indian trader Col. William Eaton, his children are well documented since they all at some point owned parcels of their father’s land and/or appear in his estate papers.


Newly Discovered Records for Jesse Chavis

William Chavis died in 1777 and his estate papers are digitized and available on Please be aware that the index for Ancestry’s North Carolina Wills and Probate collection is not so accurate, so the stop and end points of folders are not indexed properly and there are pages from different folders mixed in together. William Chavis’ estate papers are a necessary read if you are a William Chavis descendant and/or researcher. Heinegg only makes brief references to the content of the estate papers and so they are definitely worth a look because you will learn a lot more.

So while I was reviewing William Chavis’ estate papers, I came across a very interesting page. It was a court order from 5 February 1777 that called for several people to report to court to settle William Chavis’ will. The following people are named to report to court: Frances Chavers (William Chavis’ widow), Phillip Chavers (William Chavis’ son and executor of the estate), Anna Chavers (I’m not yet sure who she is), Joseph Hill, John Nevil, William Mills, John Kittrell, William Ashley, and Major Evans (from the Native America/”free colored” Evans family who intermarried and had several land transactions with the Chavises). And scribbled in between these names is a “Jesse Chavers”. (Chavers is another common spelling of Chavis).

Jesse Chavis court order
On 5 February 1777 a number of family and friends of William Chavis were summoned to come to court to settle his will. “Jesse Chavers” (Chavis) was among them. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998


The court order does not specify Jesse Chavis’ relationship with the deceased William Chavis but I found another page in the estate files that does help clarify. William Chavis owned a lot of land and property, so it took a number of years to finally settle his estate. His widow Frances (Gibson) Chavis died in 1780 which likely added to the complications of William Chavis’ estate. A page dated 9 Aug 1780 named Jesse Chavis as an orphan of William Chavis, deceased, and ordered that Jesse Chavis be bound out to Thomas Person until the age of 21 years.

Jesse Chavis apprenticeship
A page from William Chavis’ (1709-1777) estate records shows that Jesse Chavis was his orphan who was bound out to Thomas Person on 9 August 1780. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998


Perhaps the reason why Jesse Chavis was not originally bound out in 1777/78 when William Chavis died was that Frances (Gibson) Chavis was still living and was financially secure from her husband’s estate to raise Jesse. But when Frances died in 1780, Jesse Chavis was truly orphaned.

However, with that said, I don’t believe that Jesse Chavis was William Chavis and Frances Gibson’s son despite being called their “orphan”. For one, Jesse Chavis was born in the 1760s since he was still a minor in 1780. Frances was born around 1700, making her too old to give birth in the 1760s. And second, in the many estate records dealing with transfer of land ownership and with companies attempting to collect outstanding debts from William Chavis’ estate, Jesse is never mentioned as a son to potentially collect debt from. William Chavis’ sons are consistently listed as Phillip, Gibson, and William Jr.

So if Jesse Chavis was not William Chavis and Frances Gibson’s son, then what was his relationship? I believe the most likely scenario is that he was their grandson that they were raising. I’m not 100% certain which of William Chavis’ children was Jesse Chavis’ parent, but we can definitely eliminate a few. Again, keep in mind that Jesse Chavis was born in the 1760s and based on other biographical information discussed later, I have estimated his birth at around 1766.

Phillip Chavis was married to wife Celia before Jesse was born, was living in Bladen County and then South Carolina around the time of Jesse’s birth, and lived long past his father William’s death, so he’s not a candidate.

Sarah Chavis was married to Edward Harris by about 1750, so she couldn’t be Jesse’s mother.

Gibby/Gideon Chavis died in 1777, however Gibby’s children were named in their maternal grandfather Robert Priddy’s will. Gibby’s own will which was written in 1777 only names one son named William, so we can rule him out.

William Chavis Jr moved down to the Bladen (Robeson) Co area in the 1770s and lived long after his father died, so he doesn’t seem to be a possibility.

Lettice Chavis was married to Aquilla Snelling by 1761 and her children are named in her will, so she couldn’t be Jesse’s mother.

Keziah Chavis was married to Asa Tyner in 1766 (according to tax lists and testimony from William Chavis’ estate papers). If Jesse was born before Keziah Chavis married Asa Tyner, then it is a possibility. I will explore this some more below.

And finally there is Fanny Chavis who we know very little about because she only appears in a tax list once in 1761 and no additional records for her. It’s quite possible she was Jesse’s mother and she died a short time after, thus Jesse’s grandparents raised him.

Mixed in with William Chavis’ estate papers, I found a sworn deposition provided by Joshua Hunt on 9 August 1780. Mr. Hunt was a witness to a proposed marriage contract some 15 years earlier between William Chavis and his future son-in-law Asa Tyner. It appears Asa Tyner never received his payments from William Chavis and sued the estate to be fully compensated. According to Joshua Hunt, William Chavis offered Asa Tyner: 500 £, two slaves (“Dick” and “Dilcie”), 644 acres of land that included two plantations, a large quantity of cattle and hogs, and an assortment of household items if he married William’s daughter Keziah Chavis.

Joshua Hunt deposotion
Joshua Hunt provided a deposition on 9 August 1780 to the Granville County court in which he testified to being a witness to a marriage contract between the deceased William Chavis and his son-in-law Asa Tyner. Source: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998

Offering a dowry to marry off a daughter was certainly not unheard of for this time period, but that is quite a lot to offer to pay. I don’t know if William Chavis made similar offers to his other son-in-laws such as Edward Harris or Aquilla Snelling. So this leaves me wondering why he offered so much? Could it be that Keziah Chavis was already an unwed mother to Jesse Chavis, so William had to offer more to persuade Asa Tyner to marry her? We also know from court records that Heinegg provided, that when William Chavis was still living, he and Asa Tyner were involved in a number of legal disputes. So it appears they had a hostile relationship and some of it may stem from William Chavis never fully compensating Asa Tyner for marrying Keziah.

So at this time, my best leads are that Jesse Chavis was a son of either Fanny Chavis or Keziah Chavis. Hopefully additional research will clarify exactly who Jesse’s parents were.


Jesse Chavis and His Family

Let’s continue reviewing the additional records that Heinegg provided for Jesse Chavis and you will see they are consistent with him being from William Chavis’ family. In 1787, Jesse Chavis was a tithable in Hugh Snelling’s Granville County household. 1787 is also the year that Jesse Chavis was 21 years old, so his indenture to Thomas Person was over. Hugh Snelling was a grandson of William Chavis through his daughter Lettice Chavis and her husband Aquilla Snelling. Aquilla Snelling was deceased by 1779, so oldest son Hugh Snelling acquired most of his parent’s possessions. Hugh was a substantial land owner in Granville County and it makes sense that Jesse Chavis would reside with his first cousin Hugh Snelling. This is yet another confirmation that the Jesse Chavis of Granville County was not the same Jesse Chavis of Mecklenburg County.

By 1790, Jesse Chavis was the head of his own household in the Fishing Creek district of Granville County. Fishing Creek was the heart of the Native community and the location of most of William Chavis’ family and their land holdings. In August 1794, Jesse Chavis was charged with having an “illegitimate child” with Nelly Bass. Absalom Bass (b. 1760) and Benjamin Bass (b. 1756) were his securities for the “bastard bond”. Nelly, Absalom and Benjamin were from the Native American/”free colored” Bass family that I previously blogged about here. Absalom and Benjamin were brothers and Nelly was likely their sister or niece which is why they were the sureties for the bond. I don’t know the name or gender of the child that Jesse Chavis had with Nelly Bass or what happened with that child.

In his Jesse Chavis discussion, Heinegg included a record from 8 April 1798 which states a Jesse Chavis of Petersburg sold 8 heads of cattle in Granville County. This is most likely a different Jesse Chavis, perhaps the one living in Mecklenburg Co or yet another Jesse Chavis that was contemporary to one we are discussing. The fact that the record says this Jesse Chavis was of Petersburg, indicates that he was not local and instead was from Petersburg and came to Granville County to sell cattle.

In the 1790s, Jesse Chavis also fathered an “illegitimate child” with Rhody Anderson (b. 1770). The name of that child was Henry Anderson (1790-1850). We know this because Rhody Anderson went on to marry Darling Bass (1771-1845) and Darling’s will makes mention of his step-son Henry Anderson. Rhody Anderson was the daughter of Lewis Anderson Jr (1743-1805) and Winnie Bass (1752-1809). Winnie Bass was a sister of Absalom Bass and Benjamin Bass discussed above and Lewis Anderson Jr. was from the Anderson family that I blogged about here.

Sampson Anderson and wife Jane Anderson and and son Robert F Anderson
Sampson Anderson (1844-1906) was the son of Henry Anderson (1790-1850) and was the grandson of Jesse Chavis (1766-1840) and Rhody Anderson (b. 1770). He is pictured with his wife Jane Anderson (1852-1923) and son Robert F Anderson (1872-1914). The family lived in Granville and Wake Counties and relocated to Washington, D.C. in their later years. Source: Ancestry, Username: rewinder11

Jesse Chavis was a tithable in 1802 and appears in the Granville County census in 1810, 1820, and 1830. His 1810 household included 6 people which would indicate that by 1810 Jesse was married and had several children (the 1810 census does not provide age and sex of household members). In 1820, Jesse is listed in the Fishing Creek district and is the head of a household of 8 people. In this census we can see the age and gender breakdown of the household and it appears to include Jesse, 4 children (2 boys and 2 girls ages 14 and under), and 3 women in the same age range as Jesse. One woman is likely a wife but I’m unsure who the other 2 women are. Perhaps siblings or in-laws or even a mistake by the enumerator.

In 1830, Jesse Chavis is the head of a household of 5 people (Ancestry has this incorrectly indexed as 15 people). The household looks to include Jesse (age 55 or over), a wife (female age 55 or over), two adult sons (one age 24-36 age, one age 36-55), and a daughter (age 10-24). Though the 1830 census did not name districts, I know from looking at Jesse Chavis’ neighbors that he was still in Fishing Creek. In fact he is listed two households over from my 5th great-grandfather Sherwood Harris (1761-1833). Sherwood Harris (who was the son of Sarah Chavis and Edward Harris) and Jesse Chavis were first cousins.

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Jesse Chavis enumerated in the 1830 census in Granville County. He is living amongst other members of the Native community in the Fishing Creek district. Living two households above him is Jesse Chavis’ first cousin (and my 5th great-grandfather) Sherwood Harris. Source: 1830; Census Place: South Regiment, Granville, North Carolina; Series: M19; Roll: 121; Page: 78; Family History Library Film: 0018087

1830 is the last census that Jesse Chavis appears in, so he died sometime before the 1840 census. I do not have a precise date of his death and have not located a will or estate papers for him.

We do know that Jesse Chavis was married at least once. On 2 May 1812, he married Nancy Mitchell (b. 1775). Interestingly, Darling Bass was the bondsman for the marriage, so Jesse appears to have been on good terms with his son Henry Anderson’s step-father. Nancy Mitchell was the wife living in Jesse’s household in the 1820 and 1830 censuses, but she couldn’t have been with him in the 1810 census as that was before they were married in 1812. Recall that the 1810 census included 6 individuals in the household, so Jesse Chavis was most likely married before Nancy Mitchell and had children with that wife. I have not located any other marriage records for Jesse, so I don’t know the identity of this first wife.

I did find Jesse’s widow Nancy (Mitchell) Chavis in the 1850 and 1860 censuses in the Beaver Dam district in Granville County. Beaver Dam is right below Fishing Creek, on the other side of the Tar River and was a location that some of the Fishing Creek community members moved into, including other descendants of William Chavis.

In the 1850 census, Nancy (Mitchell) Chavis is shown living with a Redding Chavis, age 49 years and a married couple – Benjamin Anderson age 60 and Franky Anderson age 52. Redding Chavis was Jesse Chavis’ son from his first unknown wife since he was born in 1801, which is before the 1812 marriage date with second wife Nancy Mitchell. Franky Anderson’s maiden name was Franky Mitchell and she was Nancy Mitchell’s daughter from before marrying Jesse Chavis. In the 1830 census, Franky Mitchell’s husband Benjamin Anderson is also shown only living two households away from Jesse Chavis. Benjamin Anderson was also the younger brother of Rhody Anderson, the woman who Jesse Chavis had a child with.

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Jesse Chavis’ widow Nancy (Mitchell) Chavis was enumerated in the Beaver Dam District of Granville County in the 1850 census. She is listed with her step-son Redding Chavis, her daughter Franky (Mitchell) Anderson and Franky’s husband Benjamin Anderson. Source: Year: 1850; Census Place: Beaver Dam, Granville, North Carolina; Roll: M432_631; Page: 126B; Image: 251

In the 1860 census, Nancy (Mitchell) Chavis is shown again living with her step-son Redding Chavis in Beaver Dam district in Granville Co. That is the last time she appears in the census, so she died sometime before 1870. Redding Chavis was never married but he did father a child with Fanny Harris b. 1815 named Emily Harris (1834-1907). Fanny Harris was also a descendant of William Chavis, and in fact Redding Chavis and Fanny Harris were second cousins. Emily Harris married Thomas Evans (1827-1911) and their family like many other Saponi families from Granville County, relocated to Ohio and later Michigan where the Saponi Nation of Ohio and the Midwest Saponi Nation are today.

Emily Harris Evans death
The death certificate for Emily (Harris) Evans, confirms that she was the daughter of Redding Chavis and Frances “Fanny” Harris. Redding Chavis was the son of Jesse Chavis and his first unknown wife. Emily was the wife of Thomas Evans who also hailed from Granville’s Native American community. Source:
Joseph Evans
Joseph Evans (b. 1869) was the son of Emily Harris and Thomas Evans. He was a grandson of Redding Chavis, and a great-grandson of Jesse Chavis. He was born in Ohio, after the family left Granville County. Joseph later moved to Michigan. Source: Ancestry, Username: shaithcox
Ida (Evans) Allen  & sister Kathyrn Evans
Sisters Ida Belle Evans (1893-1971) and Catherine Evans (b. 1884). They were daughters of Richard Evans, granddaughters of Emily Harris and Thomas Evans, great-granddaughters of Redding Chavis, and great-great granddaughters of Jesse Chavis. Source: Ancestry, Username: shaithcox

So to recap, Jesse Chavis was from the family of William Chavis and Frances Gibson and most likely a grandson of theirs. He was bound out to Thomas Person and then lived with his first cousin Hugh Snelling. He had a child with Nelly Bass, a child with Rhody Anderson named Henry Anderson, a first unknown wife with whom he had at least one son named Redding Chavis, and then later married Nancy Mitchell.

Looking at his household numbers in the census records, it’s quite apparent Jesse Chavis had other children. He likely had more children with his first unknown wife and children with his second wife Nancy Mitchell.

I can confirm that William Chavis (1801-1854) was a son of Jesse Chavis. And given his approximate birth date of 1801, he would be from Jesse Chavis’ first unknown wife. Census records and tax lists place William Chavis in very close proximity to where Jesse Chavis and his known family lived in the 1830s and 1840s. William Chavis married Delilah Guy (1819-1860) on 16 Oct 1834 and the Guy family as well lived in Fishing Creek and were neighbors to Jesse Chavis. William Chavis’ will makes mention of giving his mother title to the land that she was already living on in the Beaver Dam district. The text of the will was transcribed by fellow Granville County researcher Jahrod Pender:

Will of William Chavis

Jan. 26 1854 proved Feb. Court 1854

William Chavis wills to his mother the land in Beaverdam district where she now lives for her life then to my wife if she be living and if not to my children; To wife Delilah Chavis, for life or widowhood, all else I own but if she marry again then to be taken over by my excr. For use of my wife and children, and after her death to all my children.

Exrs. Col Lewis Parham

Wts W.W Dement, W H Paschall.

Though the will does not give the name of William Chavis’ mother, Nancy (Mitchell) Chavis is the only elder female Chavis who is listed in the census for Beaver Dam district in 1850 and 1860. Nancy was actually his step-mother but was the mother that raised him for most of his life since she married his father Jesse Chavis when William was about 10 years old. And this explains why in the census records for 1850 and 1860, Nancy was the head of the household and not her adult step-son Redding Chavis who resided with her.

Bibby family 1898
Julia Chavis (1845-1939) is the elder woman seated in the middle. She was the daughter of William Chavis (1801-1854) and Delilah Guy. William Chavis was a son of Jesse Chavis (1766-1840). Julia is pictured here with her husband William Solomon Bibby, children, and grandchildren at the family farm in Franklinton, NC in 1898. My great-grandfather Edward Brodie Howell’s first wife Mary Bibby is standing on the right.


I hope this blog post was informative and clarifies exactly who Jesse Chavis of Granville County was. I especially hope it’s a helpful reminder for researchers to be patient with the records and to carefully review all of the content. This is the best way to avoid mistakes such as conflating records of different individuals.


32 thoughts on “Jesse Chavis, Saponi Indian from Granville County – An Update!

  1. Have you run across a Cheeapoke Harris born about 1710 from Surey Co. NC. A Cheraw Indian who married William “trapper” Terry. Maybe connected to Chief Johnny Harris. The Few remaining Cheraw merged with the Catawbas after smallpox breakout. I saw you had some Harris in your info. Also William Terry’s mother’s name was Kezia (unknown maiden name), but I believe she would be older than your Kezia. Kezia Terry would have been born before 1700. Any help appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sandra,
      Thank you for the information and I will look into it. My suspicion is that the Granville Co Harisses (and I’m a direct descendant) are somehow connected to the Cheraw/Catawba Harris family. I’ve reviewed Ian Watson’s Catawba genealogy research and it’s an excellent resource but even he seemed to be stumped at the exact origins of the earliest Harrises within the tribe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great research, Kianga, as usual. I am delighted to see what you are researching is matching on the other end with what I have found in Surry Co, VA in the 17th century as related to our Gibson and Chavis grandparents from that time!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Deborah, we should talk more about your Gibsons on FB or email sometime. I’ve already connected a few “free colored”/Native American families from colonial Virginia to the Nova Scotia settlements. I’ve learned that not all the families who relocated up there were enslaved, some were people who for the most part had always been free. I would not be surprised if your Gibsons are connected.


  3. Kianga your time spent deciphering the free people of color in Granville county North Carolina is phenomenal! My ex husband is a descendant of the Chavis families and if you look into the New Corinth Baptist Church in the northern part of Granville you will find Chavis descendant s buried there and St. Stephens. New Corinth is my home church.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the info. That’s the Walnut Grove area, correct? I’ve also spent some time sorting those Chavises out because they all share a common ancestor named Ritter Chavis and intermarried a lot with the Thorpes and Satterwhites. I still don’t know yet how she connects to other Chavises but working on it. If possible, send me a message on FB or email with what you have on those Chavises.


  4. Although these are no relationship to me blood wise, I compliment you for doing such great documentation that should be greatly beneficial to future generations in knowing their heritage. One comment/question is whether the Ohio migration coincided with the Cherokee massacre of the Cherokee Indians near present Rock Hill SC prior to the Rev. War. Afterwards, i was told near New Market VA that many Catawba Indian survivors came thru on the way to seek safety in Ohio thereby losing tribal status as an independent tribe when they settled near and on Catawba Island located on Lake Erie. I wish I knew more about the history of the Catawba massacre. It is not discussed in NC History in school. I am descended maternally from Adam Haigler’s daughter Margaret Elizabeth (Bettie) Haigler Shook wife of William S. Shook’s son Marcus. Bettie’s kinsman who was associated with the NC Archives and who wrote a book on the Haigler family told me that Adam Haigler’s grandfather was located west of the Catawba River and East of the Cherokee lands as a trader long before the French and Indian War, and his son had to leave to squat on land near Matthews NC during the French & Indian War. It is possible that this forced relocation was in conjunction with the Cherokee Massacre by the Cherokees. Since the first Haigler trader/settler could have married an Indian because that was at that time conducive to having good trade relationships with the Indians who liked to deal with kinsmen, It is possible that he may have had more children than Adam Haigler’s father. There appears to be a small amount of Indian appearance in the children of Bettie Haigler Shook and William Shook. One is the small purple birthmark on the body which usually disappears before puberty. Do you have any data on Chief Haigler’s ancestry? He was able to speak English during his meetings with the British and English settlers during the French and Indian War; including asking Gov. Dobbs to prohibit the sale of whiskey to his people. I would also recommend that you get your data presented to the NC Archives Genealogical Department if you have not already done so.


  5. Hello I happen to run across this amazing research and was intrigued by the Harris name. I am descendant of the Harris from Westmoreland County, VA and my earliest known Harris relative was George Harris b. 1730 and his mother Mary b. 1703. George Harris was emancipated by Robert Carter’s “Deed of Gift” of 1791 in Westmoreland County, VA, this document emancipated about 600 slaves, which was unheard of. I was wondering if some of the Harris freed by this “Deed of Gift” moved from VA to NC since they are so close and with VA having a few laws in place for former slaves that forced them to move shortly after their emancipatio. My maternal grandfather always spoke of his Native American heritage and it was proven by my maternal Uncle’s DNA which listed 1% Native American. I am curious if your Harris family and my Harris folks are related.

    Thanks for keeping everyone of our ancestors current, because they all mattered.



    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thank you for reading the blog. My Harris family has been incredibly difficult to document because Harris is such a common surname. There was a very large white Harris family with deep roots in Granville Co that is not related to my own Harris family. I can say for certain that my Harrises have been living in Granville Co since the county was founded in 1746. They were probably living in the area before it became Granville Co. Some researchers suspect that the Saponi Harris family descends from the Catawba/Cheraw Harrises who were chieftans of the tribe in the early/mid 1700s.
      So I cannot give you any solid answers to your question about whether our Harrises are related. I wish you the the best of luck with your Harris research because I know from my own expereience that it is challenging.


  6. This was great, I was wondering if there’s a John Chavis or James Chavis anywhere in your search. I’m searching for my ggg grandfather John Chavis and his brother James. I found them in Marlboro County, SC but unsure where they were from originally. John was born around 1812 and married a Nancy do not have her last name.


    1. You are PeeDee Indian I am a Chavis my family is from Marlboro county also we are from South Carolina a virg and North Carolina line originally . William Chavis had Indian woods a tusky Rez and Sapponi Rez on his land my phone is 8433407657


  7. This was helpful but I’m not sure if it ties into what I’m searching for. I have traced back my family to Mathew Chavers aka Matthew Chavis or Chaverse. He was born around 1795 or 1792 and dies 5/1880. He married a Milly ? Born 1792/1793? Died ? And later married Nelly (Nellie) Crawson B 1824 D 1872-1880 as Mathew Chavis on 9-10-1865. They were both bellieved to be from S.C possibly N.C.
    I read that Mathew and his family came from NC to Orangeburg SC around 1840 and moved here to Alabama and settled in autauga co In 1840/1850. I have a piece I read on the internet that ties in with your names here and maybe you know who his father could be.

    I can send you a picture of it.


  8. Hi! My name is Jared Anderson. Thanks to your research and blog, I have extended my family tree to great extents. My family tree (before discovering your blog) stopped with my great great great grandparents Winnie Anderson and Charles Talley.


  9. Just wanted to note in response to your comment about William Chavis estate papers, those required to report to the court: Quoting from you “Anna Chavers (I’m not yet sure who she is)”. She is Gibby Chavers wife Anna Priddy Chavers. This is my line. I also come from Martin Gibson who is bound to James Carrington in Orange Co NC in 1784. I believe Carrington’s wife to be Margery Gibson. Can’t say for sure who Martin’s father is. Would love to have a document proving that old William is the son of Bartholomew. Good read, thanks for the work.


    1. Hi Debbie. Thanks for commenting. Yes, after I blogged about this, I realized Ann was most likely Ann Priddy but haven’t gotten around to updating the blog post yet. Currently taking a research hiatus until the new year, to focus on beadwork. The Halifax Co land deeds prove that William Chavis was a son of Bartholomew Chavis.


  10. Hello, part of my alleged family tree has been handed down to me. I have a Priscilla Chavis 1785-1876 purportedly married to Asa Dees 1785-1878. Priscilla may have been the daughter of Erasmus (E.D.) Chavis who may have been the son of Phillip Chavis. Phillip may have been the son of William Chavis, Senior. Just wanted to check to see if this is a possibility based on your extensive research. Thank you.


    1. Hi Bob,

      William Chavis is the father of Phillip Chavis who is the father of Erasmus Chavis. I cannot confirm that Priscalla Chavis was the daughter of Erasmus Chavis but her circa dates, location and purported marriage to Asa Dees would be consistent with her being a daughter of Erasmus Chavis. Erasmus Chavis was documented in Bladen County, living close to Benjamin Dees. Benjamin Dees born circa 1745 and would likely be Asa Dees’ father. To help further corroborate these connections, my recommendation is to review the Bladen Co census records and tax lists as well as marriage bonds to see who the bondsman was for these marriages. Often times, the bondsman is a close relative (father, brother, uncle) of the groom or bride and that information helps to build out family trees. This time period includes the Revolutionary War, so some of these men in the Chavis, Dees, and related Bladen Co families were likely soldiers and if they lived long enough, filed Revolutionary War pensions. If these men died before filing pensions, then their widows or heirs sometimes filed to receive pension payments. I find pension files to be filled with very helpful genealogical information because veterans or their families had to provide detailed and verified biographical info in order to receive payments. Best of luck with your research and if you find additional corroborating evidence, I hope you will revisit this post and share.


      1. I am not quite sure how this blog reply business works, but, Kianga, I am hoping you and others will see this: Bartholomew Chavis, born in 1686, per your research, Kianga, absolutely had to be the son of William Chavis and his wife, whom I believe was Native American, Elizabeth Chavis. They lived in Surry Co, VA and are all over extant public records of that county from the 1670’s through at least the mid 1680’s (my research at this time only goes to the mid 1680’s). William, who was a white man born of Dubliners who settled in Surry Co, VA (James City Co., VA at the time, 1648, transport records) had an older sister, Elizabeth Chavis, also white, from Dublin and our grandmother, Kianga. There absolutely were NO other Chavis/Chivers/Cheevers/Shivers in the area at that time except us. Our grandmother I believe may have married Christopher Bly in the mid 1670’s and migrated to NC with him, where he, her brother and his family, the Howells, and loads of otehr Surry CO, VA surnames are later found. It appears to me that Surry Co, VA by the 1680’s was full of mixed race (Native and white) descendants of founding Jamestown families who hoped over a few miles down into what later became NC, following Indian trading paths and leaving the increasingly racially stifled VA.


  11. Oh, and just a reminder, that white Elizabeth Chavis and Thomas Gibson/Gibbons (mixed Native and white) were the documented parents of Gibson (Gibby) Gibson who died in Charles City Co, VA. His son is the not so law abiding Gilbert Gibson of Louisa Co, VA. Gilbert is throughout public records, always in some kind of trouble, apparently due to alcohol, best I can tell. But, he was a wealthy planter, apparently. And, pretty crazy. The Gibsons, in general, were fearless and reckless, traits that at times helped found our nation.


  12. Do you have any information about the descendants of John Chavis born 1712, son of Bartholomew and Martha. He went to South Carolina and either his son or grandson was Johm Chavis born 1765 (about) in Orangeburg S.C. and died in Richmond Co. Georgia. he was the father of my ggg grandfather Frederick Chavers, born about 1790. There was another Frederick Chavers at the same time in S.C., probably the son of Lazarus. My DNA matches the descendants of John 1765’s children. My Frederick and my ggg grandmother Nancy Hawkins Bryant we’re living in NW Georgia, Cherokee lands, from the 1820s until it became Walker County, Georgia. About 1845 they went to southern Illinois and lived in a community of mixed blood people named Taborn, Cole, Harley, Turner, Bass, Allen, Stewart, and other Chavises. On the censuses, they are listed as mulatto. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Your work is outstanding.


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