|Thomas W Wescott|
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North Carolina, USA
Died before 1870
Thomas W. Wescott & Dorcas Hewett
Researched and Written by Michael L. Price, 2011
Thomas W. Wescott, my 4th great uncle, was born about 1792 to Jeremiah and Ann Wescott. Thomas paid taxes in 1815 on several acres situated at Vineyard Branch off Lockwood's Folly River, near present-day Supply. The property once belonged to Robert Hewett who was born circa 1752 to Joseph Hewett and Hannah Leonard. Joseph and Hannah had married in 1751. Hannah died in 1770 and then in 1785 Joseph married Dorcas Fulford.
Robert Hewett was the great grandson of Randall Hewett Jr., the first Hewett of record to live in Cape May County, New Jersey. (The Hewett family is discussed in more detail in my book). Robert was the father of Thomas W. Wescott's wife, Dorcas Hewett. Though Dorcas was a name handed down in the Hewett family, the suspicion that Thomas' wife, Dorcas, was a Hewett is supported by the close relationship that they both shared with Robert and by the legal guardianship rights granted by the Brunswick County Court in February 1819 to Thomas and Dorcas on behalf of the minor-aged Solomon T. Hewett. Thomas had married Dorcas sometime in late 1818 or by February 1819, and it was in February 1819 when Solomon Hewett came to live with the newly married couple from the very beginning of their married life together. In 1824, 1826 and 1829, Thomas and Dorcas were granted renewed legal custody of Solomon, who remained devoted to his guardian parents throughout their lifetime.
In 1819 Thomas sold and deeded several acres of land, located at Sam's Branch, to William Wilson, and he deeded lot #35 in Smithville (present-day Southport) to Nathanial Wilkins. In 1820 Thomas deeded to James Simmons several acres at Vineyard Branch, property once owned by Robert Hewett, Thomas' father-in-law.
From 1825 to 1830 Thomas and other local farmers took part in patrols for the purpose of containing their slaves, seeking to make sure that the slaves did not hold secret meetings in an effort to incite a local uprising. Around this time, slavery was becoming a major issue in various states in the north, south and west. Its morality was being challenged, defended and discussed, and the nation was on the precipice of being crushed under the weight of it. The Federal Government's interference in the early to mid 1800s hindered more than it helped the issue of slavery. For example, not too many years before the commencement of the Civil War the Federal Government had enacted a law whereby runaway "fugitive" slaves, seeking freedom, once captured, had to be returned to their original owners, under penalty of the law. Various Acts by the Federal Government helped to set up circumstances that eventually led to the American Civil War.
In 1831 Thomas deeded to Benjamin Sellers several acres of land located at Emperor's Branch, situated off Aspy Creek. The transaction was witnessed by Alfred Galloway. On December 3, 1833 Thomas deeded to his younger brother, Lewis Wilson Wescott, 200 acres of land, and in 1835 Thomas conveyed 200 acres on the south side of Spring Branch to his guardian son, Solomon T. Hewett. This property was the farming estate that included the plantation residence of Thomas and Dorcas. It was located south of present-day Varnamtown where the Lockwood's Folly River today empties into the intra-coastal waterway, situated between the coast and present-day Lockwood's Folly Country Club, a likely site of the original 1729 Lockwood's Folly Baptist settlement. In 1853 Thomas conveyed land to his son, Francis Marion Wescott. By 1860 the elderly Thomas and Dorcas were living with Francis. Dorcas was sixty-seven years old at this time, marking her birth year sometime around 1793. By 1870 Thomas had died, and the widowed Dorcas was boarding by then in the home of son John L. Wescott, who was forty years old at the time, and his wife, Lydia G. Wescott, who was forty-three years old. Thomas W. Wescott died between 1861 and 1870, sometime after he had moved into the home of his son Francis.
Thomas and Dorcas were well acquainted with Robert Hewett, the father of Solomon T. Hewett. Legal guardianship was not needed or granted by the court in Brunswick County if a widow brought children from a former marriage into a new marriage. It was customary, however, for the court to grant legal guardianship only when a younger sibling of minor age came to live in the household of an older, married sibling, assuming that the minor child, if more than fourteen years of age, did not object. Given this legal custom, and given the lifelong, devoted relationship that existed, Solomon most likely was Dorcas' younger brother and, if so, then Robert Hewett was Dorcas' father and the father-in-law of Thomas W. Wescott; this answers the longstanding question in the Wescott family of exactly who was Dorcas, the wife of Thomas. Thomas and Dorcas not only accepted responsibility for Solomon; they also helped to raise Jeremiah Wescott's son and Thomas' younger brother, Lewis Wilson Wescott (my 3rd great grandfather). And, of course, they raised their own children, my distant cousins, including William, John L., Thomas Jr., Francis Marion and Aurelia (Emelia; Emilia) Ann Wescott.
Jeremiah Wescott (1765 - 1833)
Darcas Hewett Wescott (1793 - 1855)
Lewis W. Wescott (1809 - 1874)*
John L Wescott (1820 - 1896)*
Francis Marion Wescott (1830 - 1894)*
Created by: Tentis
Record added: Aug 02, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 74307302
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