Madison County Families

Kentucky Pioneers and Their Descendants

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Thomas Newby

Granville County, N.C.

Considerable evidence suggests that the Newby family of Madison County, Kentucky is descended from Thomas Newby, who appears in Granville County, North Carolina records from 1754 to 1798.  No records of other Newbys appear in that region of North Carolina at that time.  

The first record of Thomas Newby is on the 1754 Granville County Militia Muster Rolls.  The next year, he and his wife are on the Granville County Tax List, but no children are indicated.  John Newby, probably the oldest, was born about 1760.  

The next major record is Thomas Newby’s will dated May 16, 1798, recorded in Granville County, North Carolina and probated in November 1798.  The will names wife Alis (Alice); sons Thomas and John; daughters Prisila (Druscilla), Mary and Bethsheba; granddaughters Keziah and Betsy (Elizabeth) Newby; and grandsons Henry, Zacheus and James Newby.  

At the time of the will the named sons (Thomas and John) and daughters (Drucilla, Mary and Bathsheba) would have been living while the parents of the grandchildren would have been deceased.  The will also indicates that none of the grandchildren had reached the age of 21.  Further, Thomas Jr. was named as an executor, but John (who was in Kentucky well before 1798) was not.  

Records show that John Newby married Susan Embry and that Drucilla Newby married a John Foster in Wake County in 1785 and 1788 respectively.  Both families had migrated to Madison County, Kentucky by 1800.  Census records show John and Susan’s first child, Bryant, born in North Carolina in 1785, and the second, Sarah, born in Kentucky in 1787.  Of the named grandchildren, Zacheus, James and Keziah appear in the Madison County, Ky., records after 1800.  Keziah married Harry Magee in 1809 and Zacheus married Winifred Perkins in 1810.  No records of another Zacheus or another Keziah could be found.  

While the evidence is circumstantial, it is highly probable that the John, Keziah and Zacheus Newby in Madison County circa 1800 are the persons named in the 1798 Thomas Newby will in Granville County N.C.  

The will of Thomas Newby Jr., deceased, was recorded in Wake County, N.C., in 1800.  He left a wife, Elizabeth, a son John, and daughters Mary and Ann, none of whom appear in subsequent records for Wake County.  

Efforts to determine the origin of Thomas Newby of Granville County have not succeeded.

In the 1600s and 1700s, Newbys settled in two places that could most likely have been the origin of Thomas:  Lancaster County, Va., and the Virginia-North Carolina border (Albemarle Sound in N.C.)   Some of the Lancaster County Newbys subsequently migrated west to Chesterfield County.  Given the westward migration patterns of the time, the Madison County Newbys could have been from either place.  

Some evidence points to Virginia, other evidence to North Carolina.  The eastern North Carolina Newbys were devout Quakers who remained devout Quakers after leaving North Carolina.  Thomas Newby’s will references the “Resurrection of the Just” which was a popular Quaker belief at the time.  However, there is no evidence of a meeting in Granville or Wake during that time.  In support of Virginia, there was a strong pattern of migration from Eastern Virginia to central Virginia and then south and west to the counties along the North Carolina border in the 1700s.  Granville County, N.C., is approximately 100 miles southwest of Chesterfield County,Va.

Searches of available records in both Virginia and North Carolina have not produced a Thomas Newby that could be the Thomas Newby of Granville County.