Large Family – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Thomas Ware – A Real Texas Pioneer

Sometimes, I immediately know what to write about as I start on my 52 Ancestors post for the week. Sometimes, it’s really hard to get a hook and get started. This week sort of hits on both sides of that wall.

Thomas Ware was an early pioneer into the Republic of Texas, actually Mexico. I’ve always known that. And I’ve known that he had a pretty large family. Well, really he had multiple families that when added up make a large family. But, as I dug in to tell his story, I realized how little of that story I actually knew. So, this week, I’ll tell you what I know and then sketch out a research plan to find out more about what I don’t know.

Whenever you start to research someone, it’s really important to figure out what you want to know, and to be specific about it. Make good research questions and then figure out what to look at in order to find the answers.

But, in order to make the questions, you have to start with what do you already know and why you believe it to be trustworthy. So, we will start with that.

Who was Thomas Ware?

Thomas Ware was born about 1770. Where he was born is a bit of a question. One author says in Maryland, though other folks say that it could have been in Virginia or in North Carolina. I think I would probably lean on Virginia, since his father and grandparents were there for years, or North Carolina, since it would be along the migration route to Georgia, where they ended up by the time that Thomas was married.

Thomas and Mary Sarah “Sarah” Jimerson married in about 1793-1796. The US and International Marriage Records database says that this took place in Talladega, Alabama. This also seems unlikely. At that time, Alabama was a part of Georgia. The Ware families were congregated in Lincoln County, which is along the Savannah River, north of Augusta. So being on the western frontier, which was not open to white settlement, seems unlikely.

Thomas and Sarah’s first daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Ware, was born about 1797 in Lincoln County, Georgia. They went on to have another eight children in Lincoln and Green Counties between 1797 and 1813. The family had moved a little bit west from Lincoln County into Greene County, south of Athens, around 1805. Sometime before Jun 1818, Sarah Jimerson Ware died.

The Family of Thomas Ware and Mary Sarah “Sarah” Jimerson

  1. Margaret “Peggy” Ware, b. abt 1797, Lincoln County, Georgia
  2. John Ware, b. 1798, Lincoln County, Georgia
  3. Jamison Ware, b. 1800, Lincoln County, Georgia, d. 20 Jul 1863, Calhoun County, Arkansas
  4. Robert Ware, b. 1802, Lincoln County, Georgia
  5. Martha Ware, b. abt. 1804, Lincoln County, Georgia, d. 1854
  6. Elizabeth K. Ware, b. Aug 1805, Greene County, Georgia, d. 28 Mar 1875
  7. Sarah Jamison Ware, b. 24 Nov 1807, Greene County, Georgia, d. 16 Dec 1883
  8. Ezekiel P. Ware, b. 1810, Greene County, Georgia
  9. Henry B. Ware, b. 29 Jul 1813, Greene County, Georgia, d. 9 Jul 1898, Pass Christian, Harrison County, Mississippi

In June 1818, Thomas Ware married a second time to Phoebe Peeler. Thomas and Phoebe went on to have another six (or maybe seven) children between then. The first was born in Greene County, but the rest were in Gwinnett County, just to the east and north of present day Atlanta, but west again from Greene County.

The Family of Thomas Ware and Phoebe Peeler

  1. Mary Ann Ware, b. 1820, Greene County, Georgia, d. 1880
  2. Lucy E. Ware, b. 17 Feb 1821, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 16 Jul 1901
  3. Louisa Parks Ware, b. 6 Jul 1824, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 13 Dec 1889
  4. Nicholas Tyler Ware, b. 7 Feb 1826, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 1 Jan 1893
  5. Artemesia Ware, b. 17 Nov 1827, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. 9 Dec 1909
  6. Virginia Carolina Ware, b. 1829, Gwinnett County, Georgia, d. bef. 1852

Here’s where we begin to see the lack of breadth of my knowledge of this family. I first looked at Thomas and his family when I first began researching. I found a pretty well researched book on the Wilder and Ware family. And from there, I made a beeline through my ancestral line. I’ve never got around to going back to fill in the gaps. I think this blog is going to make me to that.

As I look at the family here, I have to assume that the children of Thomas and Sarah moved with Thomas and Phoebe into Gwinnett County. Well, at least some of them did. By that point, in 1821 when they got to Gwinnett, the oldest children would be married and out of the house, but the youngest children of Sarah would be less than ten years old still.

The family appears in the 1830 US Census in Gwinnett County. But, Thomas hears the call to go west again and heads to Texas, taking up in the Republic of Texas by 1840. He is one of the foundational ancestors of the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas. By 1844, I find him on tax rolls and on land transactions. I think once I get more research done on him and his family, there will be lots of stories to tell. I have already found passing references to Thomas and his son Nicholas being brought up on charges of attempted murder. But it also sounds like the intended victim “needed killing”. There’s got to be a good story there.

The children of Thomas and Sarah (his first wife), by and large did not accompany Thomas and Phoebe to Texas. Remember that by the time he headed to Texas, Thomas would already have been 70 years old. But he would have had an 11 year old daughter and a total of four children under the age of 18. I find these in the Texas records, so they for sure came with him.

By 1844, Phoebe died and Thomas married for a third time to Jerusha W. Gordon Hope, a widow. They had one child, but I have not found good records there yet. She died by 1848 when Thomas married for a fourth and final time (at the age of 78) to Nancy A. McClosky, another widow.

So, what are my questions about this big family and what do I want to discover about them? Here’s a list:

  • When and where was Thomas Ware actually born? This means I need to investigate his parents and their movements to figure out where they lived when Thomas was born.
  • When and where were Thomas and Sarah actually married?
  • When and where was Sarah born?
  • What went on in Thomas’ life prior to his marriage?
  • Fill in the gaps on the children of Thomas and Sarah, Thomas and Phoebe, Thomas and Jerusha.
  • What kind of property did Thomas own in each of the places he lived? This helps to understand when they were in each place.
  • Fill in the gaps to the other three wifes – Phoebe Peeler, Jerusha W. Gordon Hope, Nancy A. McClosky
  • What role in Texas history did Thomas and the Ware family play?
  • Was the land patented in 1857 in Fannin County by Thomas Ware this Thomas or his descendant?

These are a pretty big list of questions for a guy who lived a pretty big life and who had a pretty big family.