"James Potts of Burke County, N. C. and Williamson County, Tennessee"


James Potts is listed on the 1790 census of Burke County, N. C. on page 100-6. Listed on page 99-68 is Christian Abshire. By looking at the listing of children a person can see from the number of children living with Christian Abshire that he was quiet a bit older than James Potts. From the census records it can be seen that Christian Abshire was a neighbor to James Potts and was the only Abshire shown to be living in Burke County at that time. Both were listed as members of the same militia company.

It appears very likely that Christian Abshire was the father of Susannah Abshire who married James Potts. By doing a search on the internet I connected him to the Peter Abshire family from Augusta County, Virginia. One web site posted the following information on the internet:

    "Abshear, Ludwick, age 21 or over, no slaves, three horses,      
          nine cattle, one tithe above the age of 16. 
     Abshear, Abraham, age 21 or over, no slaves, three horses,      
          five cattle, one tithe over age 16.      
 Abshear, Christian, age 21 or over, no slaves, three horses,          
      five cattle, one tithe over age 16."  Since only one tithe was indicated in each case, one might presume that there were no male children over age 16 in these households. However, of the pages examined by the author only one instance was noted in which more than one tithe was reported in any family! Ludwick, Abraham and Christian Abshire appear in the 1786 TAX LIST FOR FRANKLIN COUNTY, VIRGINIA. The county was formed from Bedford, Henry and Patrick Counties in 1785-1786. Christian Abshire does not appear in the Franklin County records after that date, and he is said to have removed to Burke County, Nortl Carolina. According to research done by Mrs. W.O. (Ruby) Absher North Wilksboro, N.C., Christian and Jacob Absher were living in the area when Burke County was organized in 1777. Some of her material appeared in the JOURNAL PATRIOT. North Wilksboro, 12 March 1970."

Take note that this site indicates Christian Abshire as having moved to Burke County, N. C. Another web site indicates that he was born about 1728 and died about 1798. The Burke County, N. C. census records reflect the same detail. He was on the 1790 Burke County, N. C. census record and missing from the 1800 census record.

One web site indicates the following ancestors for Christian Abshire:
1. ABRAHAM ABSHIRE b. abt 1693, m. PHOBE WRIGHT, b. 1687, Franklin Co., VA, d. Franklin Co., VA. ABRAHAM died 1783.
2. i PETER ABSHIRE b. 1704

2. PETER ABSHIRE b. 1704, Rockbridge Co., VA or Prussia, ref: 268/292, occupation German / Dutch Tailor, m. abt 1723, in Augusta Co., VA. PETER died 17 Feb 1760, Augusta, Augusta Co, VA. Peter first appears in the Augusta Co. records on May 24, 1751. At this time, 20 acres is surveyed for him by James Trimble. This is the same 200 acres surveyed for Zachary Lewis on Mar 29, 1751. It was located on Johns Creek of Craigs Creek. (ref Ab-1) Last name Ipsher, Upshur, Absheir

Children of Eve Aphingher and Peter Abshire are:
i. Christian Abshire was born ABT 1728, and died ABT 1798.
ii. Lodowick (Ludwick) Abshire was born ABT 1732, and died 12 NOV 1822 in Bedford County, Virginia. He married Christina (Teena) Mcgrady ABT 1762 in Franklin, Virginia. She was born BET 1745 AND 1749 in Franklin County, Virginia, and died BET 21 OCT 1837 AND 1840 in Pleasant Grove, Wabash County, Indiana.
iii. William Abshire was born ABT 1734, and died ABT 1804.
iv. Abraham Abshire was born ABT 1748 in Franklin County, Virginia, and died 18 JUL 1842 in Franklin County, Virginia. He married Susannah Vincent, daughter of Charles Vincent and Susannah Vincent (MNU). She was born ABT 1775, and died ABT 1845.

Disclaimer....All of this above information pertaining to the ancestry of Christian Abshire was taken from internet files and is supplemented by the Burke County, N. C. census record for Christian Abshire. This is intended for research only and not to be assumed as factual, although I consider it to probably be accurate....

The 1790 Burke County, N. C. census record for James Potts shows that he had two daughters and a spouse. Then the 1800 Burke County, N. C. census record is more specific showing that James Potts had two daughters in the 10-16 year age bracket and four daughters in the up to 10 age bracket. Altogether that made six daughters 16 years of age and younger. From this you would expect to find in the 1810 Burke County, N. C. census record six daughters who were age 10 and above. NOT SO! There were only four daughters age 10 and above. It is clear that two daughters were missing from the family in the 1810 census record. Someone could argue that they died. But there is no proof of that. Rather there are documents that indicate that one daughter was Mary Jane Potts.

There are on-line documents which claim that John Penix married Polly Potts in Buncombe County, N. C. It would appear that the marriage took place about 1805. By 1809 the Russell County, Virginia Tax records show that John Penix was living there near his father, Joshua Penix. The 1810 tax records indicate the same thing. But by 1820 that section of Russell County, Virginia had been redistricted to become part of Scott County, Virginia. John Penix was missing from the 1820 Scott County, Virginia Census records but his father Joshua Penix and brother Isaac Penix were there. It was not until the Joshua Penix estate sale that John Penix showed back up again in Virginia when he purchased several items from his father's estate. Rather, in 1820, John Penix appeared on the Burke County, N. C. census records.

The thing that is significant about the 1810 and 1820 Burke County, N. C. census records is that in 1810 James Potts was shown as living adjoining neighbor Samuel Howell. This pinpoints his location by an adjoining neighbor. Then about 1812 James Potts left Burke County, N. C. and went to Williamson County, Tennessee. So what happened to the property that he owned in Burke County, N. C.? No doubt researchers have simply assumed that he sold it. That doesn't appear to be the case because in the 1820 Burke County, N. C. census record you find John Penix living near the same neighbor Samuel Howell as was James Potts in the 1810 census record. In the ten year interval more people had built houses in the area so you see two neighbors in between John Penix and Samuel Howell in this record. This is very strong evidence to indicate that John Penix and wife Mary Jane Potts Penix moved back to Burke County, Virginia and into the same house that James Potts vacated. It also seems very likely that he gave this property to his eldest daughter because she was left out of his estate, most likely having received her part of the inheritance by the gift of the property. PROOF of this does not exist because in 1865 Union soldiers burned the Burke County, N. C. deeds. However, it could be possible that tax records exist elsewhere in state files that could show the tax payments of James Potts and later of John Penix. Other than that, no hope exists for proving it. No reasonable person would think it to be mere coincidence that Mary Jane Potts Penix would move back to the exact same location near the same Samuel Howell who was the neighbor to James Potts. John Penix was living near his father in Russell County, Virginia (later part of Scott County) so why would he want to move away from family and friends to Burke County, N. C.? The only thing that would explain the move is if James Potts gave his oldest daughter the house and property where he had been living after vacating it to move to Williamson County, Tennessee. These census records are as close to documented proof as can be found.

The following two census records show that Mary Jane Potts returned to Burke County, N. C. and lived in the same location where James Potts lived in 1810. It can't be proven that James Potts deeded the property to John and Mary Jane Potts Penix because the Burke County, N. C. deeds were burned but it can be proved that he lived near the same neighbor, therefore SAME location.

Click here for actual copy of 1810 Burke County, N. C. Census showing James Potts living adjoining Samuel Howell.

Click here for actual copy of 1820 Burke County, N. C. Census record showing John Penix living near the SAME Samuel Howell.

The two houses seperation between the John Penix home and the Samuel Howell home was most likely due to houses being built between the two locations during the ten year interval between census taking. It is also very likely that the Howell children could have built homes on his property as his descendants grew up and married.

DNA evidence is beginning to support this opinion as well. In 2010 Mary Jane Potts' descendant James Ronald Thompson took a cousin finder test. The results of that cousin finder test was a match to Gary Wayne Bradford who is a direct descendant from James Potts and second wife Celia Givens through their daughter Nancy Potts. The relationship is classified as 5th cousin to distant cousin by the FT-DNA programming. When examined the actual relationship is sixth cousin once removed.

Further DNA testing has been conducted in a pro-active manner by the location of another descendant of James Potts and first wife Susannah Abshire. John Hoff, a descendant from James and Susannah Abshire's daughter Priscilla Potts, took the test. FT-DNA made major changes in their testing after the test was purchased and provided an obstacle to comparisons because the second test was done on a different standard. FT-DNA is now using an Illumina Omni standard which returns much fewer real world matches. Their standard is inconsistent and not realistic because it returns distant matches if two people share a common block greater than 7 cM. But they might only share as few as 24 cM total autosomal DNA. The test result between James Ronald Thompson and John Hoff returned a total autosomal shared DNA of 58.7 cM but a largest shared block of only 4.7 cM. Based on the largest shared block being less than 7 cM FT-DNA did not detect the real cousin match, although these two people share almost THREE TIMES more autosomal DNA than many of the 5th cousin matches that were returned. This standard represents academic ignorance taken to the greatest level. The test results indicate that John Hoff and James Ronald Thompson are related at the 5th cousin distance as would be expected for Mary Jane Potts and Priscilla Potts being cousins.

The raw data for Priscilla Potts descendant John Hoff was entered into the gedmatch data base and produced the following list of matches as his cousins. Take note that James Ronald Thompson is listed on line four as test number 188390.
Click here for screen grab of the John Hoff cousin match test results.

There was another match to a descendant from the Cathey and Potts family. But when contacted the lady refused to reveal her ancestry. It seems contradictory to the purpose of the test for people to take it and then not share the information necessary to prove relationships. The lady was descended from the Cathey, Potts, and Tabor families and when an internet search was conducted it was determined that the Tabor family is descended from George Cathey of Burke County, N. C. This George Cathey was the uncle of John Penix's mother, Ann Cathey. So this is a family finder match connecting James Ronald Thompson to the George Cathey family. Possibly more family finder matches will turn up later but DNA evidence is supporting the fact that John Penix was the son of Joshua Penix and married Mary Jane Potts, the daughter of James Potts.

Anyone wanting copies of the support documentation indicated by the previous discussion can contact the site owner using the e-mail address provided by home page link below.


Phone number is 423-334-5301. To contact via U. S. mail use address:
% James Ronald Thompson
2124 Upper Concord Road,
Ten Mile, Tennessee 37880



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