Person:Thomas Gillespie (27)

Thomas Gillespie, of the Cowpasture, Augusta County, VA
b.WFT Est 1710-1718
d.BEF 15 JUN 1790 Augusta County, Virginia
  • HThomas Gillespie, of the Cowpasture, Augusta County, VA1710-1718 - BEF 1790
  • WEleanor BowenBEF 1721 -
m. est. 1740/41
  1. John Gillespieest 1742 -
  2. James GillespieABT 1744 - 1790
  3. Samuel Gillespie1745 - 1812
  4. William GillespieABT 1747 -
  5. Jacob GillespieABT 1747 - BEF 1829
  6. Mary GillespieABT 1749 -
  7. Jean GillespieABT 1753 -
  8. Eleanor GillespieABT 1755 -
  9. Thomas GillespieBET 1757 AND 1760 -
  10. Ann GillespieABT 1757 -
  11. Hannah GillespieBEF 1760 -
Facts and Events
Name Thomas Gillespie, of the Cowpasture, Augusta County, VA
Gender Male
Birth? WFT Est 1710-1718
Marriage est. 1740/41 Prob. Augusta County, Virginiato Eleanor Bowen
Death[1] BEF 15 JUN 1790 Augusta County, Virginia

Thomas Gillespie was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Advisory on Two Thomas Gillespie's in Augusta County

Note: there was another contemporary Thomas Gillespie that lived for a short while and left records in Augusta County. This other Thomas Gillespie married Naomi Thompson in Augusta County in 1745 and moved to North Carolina shortly thereafter. Some researchers have confused the two Thomas Gillespie's.

Will of Thomas Gillespie

  • Page 230.--1st June, 1785. Thomas Gillespy's will--To wife, Eleanor; to eldest son, John; to son, Thomas; to son, Jacob; to son. Samuel; to daughter, Mary Donally; daughter, Hannah Jones; daughter, Jene _____; to youngest daughters, Eleanor and Ann; to youngest sons, James and William, tract on Stuart's Creek, of Cowpasture River. Executors, sons James and William and wife Eleanor. Teste: William Connell, Zachariah Beall, Leavin Nealls, Andrew McCasling. Codicil, 13th November, 1786-- £15 to be taken from Eleanor and given to her son, Thomas, a boy 3-4 year old. for his schooling, and if James shall die without issue, then his part of land to go to William. Teste as before (Leavin Nicalls). Proved, 15th June, 1790, by Connell and McCaslin. William and Eleanor Gillaspey, the surviving executors, qualify.
  • DECEMBER 15, 1789. - (177-178) Thomas Gillaspie's will presented and witnesses summoned to prove it.

Records of Thomas Gillespie in Augusta County, VA

From Chalkley’s Augusta County Records:

  • AUGUST 17, 1759. - (295) John Galespy, son of Thomas Galespy, added to tithables.
  • Page 321.--22d March, 1769. Charles Lewis and Sarah to John McCastlin (McCastling), on Stewart's Creek, a branch of Cowpasture River; corner land in possession of Thomas Gillaspie.

Information on Thomas Gillespie Thomas Gillespie and Eleanor ? (Unknown Last Name) In-Laws of Rebecca Berry

Very little information is available for Thomas Gillespie, the father of Jacob Gillespie, and there is even less for Eleanor, the wife of Thomas. Eleanor's surname is unknown, as are the dates and places of her birth and death. However, since she was identified in her husband's 1785 will, it seems quite likely that she passed away sometime after the death of her husband in the part of Augusta County, Virginia that eventually became part of Bath County. Even with the sparse data that is available for Thomas Gillespie, some of it is contradictory, and appears to have merged information from at least two individuals with the same name. Thomas Gillespie's birthplace is variously given as Ulster, Ireland and Melrose, Scotland, and his birthdate has been defined as being either 1704 or 1720. One source notes that Thomas emigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Ireland sometime before 1740 with two brothers, James and William. The brothers are believed to have gone westward to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, while Thomas went south, settling on some land along Stuart's Creek, a tributary of the Cowpasture River in Augusta County, Virginia.310 However, Augusta County records note the presence of a Jacob Gillespie, living in the area where Thomas first settled, and a William Gillespie can be traced in the vicinity of Thomas Gillespie throughout the entire period that Thomas appears in Augusta County records. If the brother theory is true, then it seems more likely, that all of these brothers first traveled to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, then moved on to Augusta County, Virginia.21

Thomas married Eleanor ? (unknown last name) at an unknown date and place. One child, possibly their oldest, was born in 1738, and if he was the oldest child, Thomas and Eleanor were probably married not long before that. A tentative date of 1737 seems reasonable for an estimate of their marriage date if John is, indeed, their oldest child. They were living in Augusta County by 1742, and there is no documentation of their life prior to that date, so it seems likely that they were married either in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania or Augusta County, Virginia.

There is strong agreement among these sources on Thomas Gillespie's date of death, although some disagreement on the place of his death. Two sources give Augusta County, Virginia as the place of death, while two give Tazwell County.298,299,300,310 In every case where a death date is provided, it is given as 1789, and the information from the timeline, below, supports this date. There are several lines of evidence documenting the existence of at least one, and possibly two other individuals with the name of Thomas Gillespie, and it seems highly likely that the information from these individuals was conflated into a single individual.

Tazwell County, Virginia is located in southwestern Virginia over a hundred miles southwest of the area in Augusta County near the Cowpasture River, where Thomas Gillespie is known to have lived until at least 1785 (as shown by the information in the timeline, below). The great distance between these two points makes it somewhat unlikely that he traveled back and forth between these places frequently. Furthermore, the personal property tax listing for Tazwell County records the existence of another Thomas Gillespie there in 1802, which lends support to the assertion that personal information from at least two different men with the same name was merged into one individual.309 In addition, there appears to be another individual named Thomas Gillespie in Sevier County, North Carolina in 1787, and in Washington County, Tennessee in 1808.21 Both of these entries could represent the same individual, but are most likely not the same person that married Eleanor and lived in Augusta County.

Washington County, Tennessee, which borders Washington County, Virginia, was originally a part of North Carolina, and remained so until 1790, when that state gave up it's claim to the territory. This area also constituted the state of Franklin, which was in existence from 1784 through 1787.308 There is a 1787 Augusta County court entry, shown below, for a Thomas Gillespy, who served as a justice in Sevier County, North Carolina. It seems very unlikely that the same individual would serve as a justice in North Carolina two years after he wrote his will in Augusta County, Virginia. Presumably, Thomas wrote his will because he was either ill or quite old, or both.

Augusta County, Virginia Deed Book 26, page 44 James Gillespy and Sarah, of Sevier County, North Carolina, to Andrew Lecky, 143 acres on Elk Run in Beverley Manor, corner Thomas Hutcheson, deceased. Acknowledged in State of Franklin. Sevier County, 3d July, 1787 before Oliver Alexander and Thomas Gillespy, certified that they are justices by Samuel Wear, Clerk of Sevier County Court

All of these records seem to point to the existence of multiple individuals named Thomas Gillespies in southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee in the late 1700's and early 1800's. It seems quite clear that information from these other Thomas Gillespies was merged, causing the resultant disagreement in dates and places. As will be shown in the timeline below, it seems certain that Thomas Gillespie, the father of Jacob Gillespie, passed away in Augusta County, Virginia, sometime between 1 June 1785, when his will was written, and 15 December 1789, when the will was proved. In all likelihood, he passed away sometime during 1789. As noted above, Eleanor's date and place of death are unknown, but it seems logical to assume that she died at or near her home on Stuart Creek near the Cowpasture River sometime after the death of her husband. Depending on her actual date of death, it took place either in Augusta County, Virginia or Bath County, Virginia.

  1. Chalkley, - Augusta County, Virginia Court Abstracts.