Thomas Bentley of Frederick County, Maryland,

And Old Rowan County, North Carolina

And his Descendants

By James W. Miller, Jr.

510 Clover Church Road

Granite Falls, NC 28630-8492

Copyright 2006


Grandmother’s knee is a good place to say your prayers, but it’s a poor place to learn history.”


Many of Thomas Bentley’s descendants in their haste have fumbled the lineages of Thomas Bentley. It is correct his wife was named Hannah, as furnished in the 1789 Lincoln County, NC, deed wherein Thomas conveys his possessions to his wife "Hannah." However, NO PROOF has been found for the Thomas Bentley/Hannah THOMAS and Thomas Bentley/Mary BEASLEY connections which have been floating around the internet during the past decade. In the cutting and pasting of information from GEDCOM files and other websites, undocumented research has been taken as fact and has been proliferated across the internet like a prairie fire in the Heartland. Also, there is no hard evidence to support claims floating around the internet that Thomas Bentley of Maryland was the son of a Thomas Bentley who was born in 1700.

This article attempts to present the facts concerning Thomas Bentley with wife, Hannah [maiden name unknown]. There are very good researchers who are presently (2006) striving to locate more records in Maryland and England about Thomas Bentley. These researchers include, but are not limited to, Donna Pitts of Nancy, KY; Bill Foley of Columbus, OH; Teresa Conley, Carolyn Bentley Kemp, and Mary Kay Coker.

Thomas Bentley was born most likely in England about 1716. Recent research indicates he MAY have been an indentured servant in the service of Rev. Joseph Hooper in 1739 in Maryland "with 2 years to serve." On 22 Jan 1744 Thomas Bentley received a patent in Baltimore Co., MD, for 50 acres named Hill Spring, the patent reading 'hath due unto him fifty acres" indicating it MAY have been land allowed by law of the time period to which indentured servants were entitled to for meeting the "conditions of plantation." In later records Thomas Bentley has been referenced as a "planter." Thomas, in wishing to come to America, evidently indentured himself to someone who was willing to pay his passage by ship. Clara W. Shook of Taylorsville was one of the first researchers in western North Carolina to make the connection that Thomas Bentley of North Carolina was from the Frederick County, Maryland, area.

Thomas Bentley and his wife Hannah were married in Maryland, not in North Carolina, as indicated by some researchers. On 21 June 1751 Jacob Banker purchased the Hill Spring tract from Thomas Bentley of Frederick Co., MD. His wife, Hannah, relinquished her dower rights to the said land.

On 5 June 1767 Thomas Bentley of "Roan" [Rowan] Co. NC sold land to Jacob Banker. Hannah again relinquished her dower rights.

The List for rent Due on Land in Frederick County, 1768-69, lists "Thomas Bentley, gone to Carolina."

Thomas Bentley first appears in Rowan Co., NC, in the 1768 tax list where he and his son, Benjamin Bentley, are listed at one poll each. The 1778 Rowan County tax lists has the name "Thomas Bentley junr." This is probably Thomas Sr as no record has been found to indicate he had a son named Thomas Jr. Many times in colonial America the terms Senr. and Junr. were used to distinguish cousins, or elders of the same name.

Some researchers have confused Thomas Bentley of Maryland as being a North Carolina Revolutionary War Soldier with service between the years 1775 and 1783. This was NOT Thomas of Maryland and Rowan who was living on Bear Creek in the present day Davie County, NC.

Thomas and his son, Benjamin, sold supplies to the revolutionary cause as can be found the Revolutionary Army Account is the State Archives in Raleigh, NC. Thomas's son, Daniel, received a pension for serving as a soldier.

Thus, Thomas and Hannah Bentley married in Maryland, moved to NC prior to 1767, with their children being born in Maryland before the move. Thomas died during the later part of 1789 or early 1790 in Lincoln County, NC.


Bill Foley found in The Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb 27, 1734:

Run away from Henry Smith's plantation above Tulpehocken, the 12th Inst a servant man named Tho. Bently, aged eighteen years, fresh colour'd, something freckled, had on a brown Kersey, blue coat cloth cap, Indian shoes and stockings, a garlix shirt; took with him the following goods belonging to his master; twelve yards of strowds, three Indian blankets, twelve pounds of powder, twenty bars of lead, two dozen clasp knives, one shot gun, a roan horse marked I.D. on the near shoulder or buttock, or both, with a narrow white slip on his forehead; the said servant went in company with Wm Mark, a hired man to the Henry Smith, pretending to go Indian trading. Whoever takes up the said Bently, and brings him to Philadelphia, to Edward Shippen, shall have three pounds and reasonable charges paid by, Edward Shippen.



On Friday, July 12, 1739, the Rev. Joseph Hooper , Rector of St. Paul's Parish of the Episcopal Church of England of Baltimore Co. passed away. Included in the inventory in his will are several indentured servants, among them a "Thomas Bentley serv w/ 2 years to serve".

Five years earlier, in 1734, a little to the north in Ben Franklin's newspaper, the Philadelphia Gazette, an advertisement appeared for a Thomas Bently, age 18. The master's place of residence was listed as Philadelphia, so it would appear this Thomas was a servant at the time.

Though I have seen indentures ranging from 2 to 7 years, the 7 year term was the most popular. If this Thomas had 2 years left to serve in 1739 on a 7 year indenture, he would have started his contract in 1734, same year as the Philly ad.

This timeline would synch up with our Thomas' acquisition of Hill Spring in 1744. His indenture would have ended in 1741, and freed servants were usually given 50 acres of land. The warranting, survey, and patenting of Hill Spring could have taken a couple of years, or Thomas could have been ornery and have gotten 2 years added to his indenture.

If this scenario turns out to be correct, then Thomas' year of birth would be 1716. That would put him at age 74 at his death in 1790.

[Bill Foley, 20 Nov 2005, Bentley family forum,]


From Maryland Calendar of Wills, vol 8, 1738-1747:

Hooper, Joseph, Rector of St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore Co, 8th July, 1739; 8th Aug, 1739. To son Joseph at age and hrs, 390 A. "Bedford", Baltimore Co, also servants, cattle etc, belonging to it. To dau. Mary and hrs, 200 A. "Brothers Choice". To mother Sarah Shorter, afsd. land in case of death of child. without issue, at her death to sister Sarah Hooper. Testator desires that "Bedford" should be kept together for support of children during minority. He also desires that the Hon. Benjamin Tasker keep a yearly correspondence with Hon. Col. Martin Bladen in behalf of children, afsd. Exs.: Capt. Robert North and George Walker. Test: Chris Priswick, John Chambers, Philip Allingham.

From Baltimore County Families, 1659-1759: from inventory of Joseph Hooper, 1739:

Thomas Bentley serv w/ 2 yrs to serve; George Golely, servant , with 1 1/2 yrs to serve; Ann Robertson, serv ( ind. for bast. Mar 1743/4, tried for bast. Aug 1744); James Spring, servant, with 2 years, 10 months. Also listed as a servant, but not in inventory, Georges Goatley, ind. for felony in Mar 1736/7.

From the looks of the will, the servants may have gone with son Joseph to Bedford. Any surviving correspondence between Tasker and Bladen could also contain info on Thomas.

From Runaway Servants, Convicts, and Apprentices Advertised in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1796, by Grubb, Farley. (Contains) date of newspaper ad and place of master's residence. Extracted from copies of the paper reprinted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania Gazette, 1728-1796, Vol's 1-25; and for Jan:

Thomas Bently, 1734, age 18, Philadelphia.

[Bill Foley, 23 Nov 2005, Bentley Family Forum,]


Settlers of Maryland 1679 - 1783, Consolidated edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., (2002), page 49, gives the following references concerning Thomas Bentley:

1) Bal[timore] Co., Hill Spring, 50 acres, 22 Jan 1745, ref[erence] PTI/165 (Patents 1743-1747, [microfilm number] SR7482.

2) Fdk [Frederick] Co., Carolina Addition, 35 acres, 3 Apr 1761, ref BC21/266; BC 23/188 Certificates 1761-1764, SR7518; Patents 1762-1765, SR7520.

3) Fdk Co., Slavery, 100 acres, 21 Nov 1763, ref BC26/321; BC27/292 Patents 1762-1767, SR7523; Certificates 1762-1765, SR7524.

]The above information was furnished by Bill Foley, 29 March 2005.]

One wonders if Thomas Bentley, if having served time as an indentured servant, was making a statement in naming the 100 acre tract “Slavery.” Thomas Bentley’s land lay on the Great Pipe Creek (also called Big Pipe Creek). His first land grant of 50 acres, Hill Spring, was in at the time Baltimore County from which Frederick County would be formed later and which is today in Carroll County. Deeds of successive land owners referenced Bentley’s Branch which was named after Thomas Bentley. Big, or Great, Pipe Creek was located in the Pipe Creek Hundred, St. Thomas parish.


The following records were abstracted by Mary Kay Coker and posted to the Bentley Family Forum,, message #1932.

Thomas Bently Pat[ent] 50 }

acres Hill Spring}

Know ye that for and consideration that Thomas Bentley of Baltimore County hath due unto him fifty acres of land within our said province by virtue of a warrant for that quantity granted him the twenty eighth day of July Anno Dom Seventeen hundred forty four as appears in our land office and upon such conditions and terms as are expressed in our conditions of plantation of our said province...[on instructions of various dates made in London]...We do therefore hereby grant unto him the said Thomas Bentley all that tract of land called Hill Spring lying on the south side of great pipe creek...for fifty acres more or less...Given under our great seal of our said province of Maryland this twenty second day of January Anno Dom Seventeen hundred forty four [1745]. Witness our Trusty and well beloved Thomas Bladen Esq Lieutenant General and chief Governor of our said province of Maryland chancellor and keeper of the great seal.

SOURCE: MSA No. SM2, Land Office (Patent Record), Volume PT 1, pp. 165-166, abstracted by Mary Kay Coker

Liber B, pp. 410-1412

Jacob Banker [purchaser] recorded 21 June 1751. Made 29 May 1751 between Thomas Bentley of FC [Frederick County], for 39 pcm [pounds current money], tract called "Hill Spring," on south side of Great Pipe Creek, M&B [metes and bounds] given; for 50 acres. Signed Thos. Bentley, before Nath Wickham, Nathl Wickham 3d. Thomas Bently ack. deed, and at same time Hannah Bentley, wife of Thomas Bentley examined apart released dower [before Nath Wickham and Tho Beatty]. Receipt. AF [alienation fee] paid.

SOURCE: Frederick County Maryland Land Records, Liber B Abstracts, 1748-1752, by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p. 45 (and copy from courthouse)


Liber BC&GC#23, Folio 188

Frederick County Land Patents

Maryland State Archives Index 55

Bentley, Thomas; 1761; Addition to Carolina; 35 acres

SOURCE: Inhabitants of Frederick County Maryland, Volume 2, 1749-1800, by Stefanie Shaffer, p. 2


Liber H, pp. 45-46

Jacob Bankard [Banker/Banckert] recorded 17 June 1762, made 2 June 1762 between Charles Carroll of Annapolis, barrister, for 16 pcm, sells part of Carolina, M&B given to part of original conveyed to Thomas Bently, for 50 acres. Signed Charles Carroll before John Bruno, Francis Fairbrother. Receipt. Ack. AF & duty paid.

SOURCE: Frederick County Maryland Land Records, Liber G & H Abstracts, 1761-1763, by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p. 47


Liber K, pp. 1283-1284

Jacob Banker [purchaser] recorded 6 June 1767, made 5 June between Thomas Bently of the County of Roan in the Province of North Carolina, for 168 [pounds] Penn., sells parcel called Carolina, and also one tract called Addition to Carolina, containing 108 acres and 35 acres. M&B given. Said tract Carolina containing 280 acres taken up by Dr. Charles Carroll and sold to Thomas Bentley in 1751. Signed Thomas Bently before Jos Wood, Joh Fee [in German]. Receipt. Ack. and Hannah wife of Thomas Bentley released dower, before Jos Wood, Thomas Price. AF paid.

SOURCE: Frederick County Maryland Land Records, Liber K Abstracts, 1765-1768, by Patricia Abelard Andersen, p. 100 (and copy from courthouse)


Rent Due on Land in Frederick County, 1768-1769

Thomas Bentley, gone to Carolina

SOURCE: Inhabitants of Frederick County Maryland, Volume 1, 1750-1790, p. 43


By the late 1730s and mid 1740s, Johann Jacob Bankert [Banker] appears in records relating to land in Digges Choice. In 1751 he set his sights south, purchasing acreage in what is now the Union Mills area of north central Maryland. His will divided his property between his four oldest sons and oldest daughter. Portions of his property – his “plantation,” including his mill property – were put up for sale in the late 1790’s, leading to a long court battle between the purchasers, Andrew and David Shriver, and Johann Jacob’s children. This included lands Jacob Banker had purchased from Thomas Bentley, namely the Hill Spring, Carolina, and Addition to Carolina tracts. Hill Spring, the land first patented to Thomas Bentley is now part of the historic Shriver mill/museum in Union Mills, MD, Carroll County. Jacob Banker purchased the land, built a mill, and later sold the land to Andrew Shriver. In 1751 Jacob’s sister, Anna Marie Nagel came to America with her children. She obtained a land grant 29 Jan1756 on Bentley’s Branch, Great Pipe creek, Frederick county, Md. Her brother Jacob later purchased our Thomas’ land. Jacob came to Maryland circa 1739 from Pennsylvania.

Jacob Banker's 1783 will disposed of his lands as follows:

To son Jacob, 125 ac near Great Pipe Creek, being parts of tracts called Carolina and Addition to Carolina.

To son John, 125 ac near Great Pipe Creek, being parts of tracts called Carolina, Ohio, Christophers Lott, and Hill Spring.

To son Peter, 125 ac Pipe Creek, being parts of tracts called Ohio, Carolina, Christophers Lott.

To son Christophel, 125 ac Pipe Creek, being parts of tracts called Hill Spring, Christophers Lott, Ohio. [Note Christophel sold his inheritance 1803/04 and moved to Ohio.]

Eldest daughter Margaret, 50 ac;. 30 being part of Ohio, 20 being part of Ohio and part of Carolina.

Jacob named other children in his will to receive monies, and for the land containing his mill and home to be sold and divided.

Jacob Banker 50 acre patent 16 May 1755 for Christophers Lott "hath due unto him," "near Draught of Great Pipe Creek called Bentleys run."

7 July 1755 Dr. Charles Carroll, city of Annapolis, Merchant, sells to Jacob Banker of Frederick Co., farmer, 48 acres named Jacobs Lott, being near the Head of Great Pipe Creek, it being the dwelling plantation of him the said Jacob Banker.

For complete will, you can use this link:


Griffith’s 1794 Map of Maryland, Showing Banker’s Mill Site


Rowan Co., NC, List of Taxables, 1768

List of Morgan Bryan

(Davie Co., NC, "Forks of the Yadkin" of today)

Thomas Bentley 1 [poll]

Benjamin Bentley 1 [poll]

Source: Rowan County List of Taxables, 1768, NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC, CRX 244)

The following insert is taken from this writer’s article “Ancestral Bentley House Lost to Fire,” which is posted at the Alexander County, NC, Genweb site.


Thomas Bentley probably made excursions into the present day Forks of the Yadkin area from Maryland seeking the land he wished to claim before he moved his family. The French and Indian War began in 1754 and attacks of the Cherokee Indians forced many settlers in the area to flee to safer parts. In 1759 the Squire Boone family (father of Daniel Boone) was forced to flee to Virginia for a short time Squire Boone’s home was in northern Davie County. With the end of the Indian War in 1763, some of the earlier settlers began to return to their lands. However, this area was part of the Earl of Granville’s district. No settler was able to obtain a land grant in the district from the time of Granville’s death in 1763 until the state of North Carolina opened it’s land office in 1778. Benjamin Bentley was quick to obtain a state grant for the Bentley land in 1780 to protect the Bentley house and holdings. Others applying for lands grants were his adjoining neighbor, John Wilcockson, who had married Sarah Boone, sister of Daniel Boone; Daniel Lewis, Alex Cearns/Carns, Anthony Peeler, James Carson and Thomas Maxwell.


Mr. Armand T. Daniel purchased the former Bentley property in 1945. His research and remodeling efforts of the log house were featured in the Davie County Enterprise Record, August 7, 1975, page 1B, as follows:

The Bentley House Over 200 Years Old

For over two years Armand Daniel tried to sell what he thought was just an old frame house on his property.

It wasn’t until years later he discovered underneath the exterior of boards and paint was an old log house dating back more than two centuries.

Benjamin Bentley, according to Daniel’s research, was apparently in this vicinity when the Boone expedition first came this route through Davie County. His research shows this location as being the first known community in the county and it was named “Bentley.”

Daniel says there was the Bentley School, Post Office trading post, and in fact it was the community for the entire group of our first settlers.

Archibald G. Carter lived in this old log house. He purchased Bentley around 1823 and the school was then known as the “Baldy Carter School.”

The original house was two 20 ft. x 20 ft. square rooms downstairs separated by a 10 foot wide entrance way and they were studded together by four 50-foot long logs. The upstairs floor space was the same.

Daniel, who is in the process of restoring the old house, recently moved one of the 50-foot logs with the help of nine other men. “It took ten of us to get that log down,’ Daniel said, “ and I just wonder how many men it took to put it up there.”

And after more than 200 years, these logs are just as solid as ever.

Daniel has a map of the entire farm, dated in 1800, which has helped him considerable in his research.

He has also found on the land an old ice pond, where ice was frozen then cut into blocks and stored in the ice house, located near-by. He is in the process now of filling in the pond.

Behind the main house is what he called a summer house.

“This is where the kinds slept in the summertime because it was too hot upstairs in the main house.” he explained.

The summer house was three stories, including a basement and two stories above.

When Kerr Clement purchased this tract of land in 1929, he remodeled the house and it has since been remodeled again. In the original portion of the house the double rafters are significant of the remodeling. The old rafters of the log cabin are easily detected.

When Daniel bought this property 35 years ago and even rented the house, he had no idea it was an original log cabin built over two hundred years ago. Daniel’s research shows this to be the best house in Davie County when it was built in the 1700s and remains today one of the better built houses, he says.

Daniel has now torn away all except the original log cabin and when the renovation is complete he says it will be good for another 200 years.

His remodeling plans include building seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms along with the other necessary rooms.

“And I’m gonna build an outdoor kitchen, he said, with a patio between it and the main house.”

Daniel plans to invest a great deal of time and money into this project. Upon completion he says he will move his family here from their present location, which was formerly the John Wilcoxson House featured in another edition.

Mr. Daniel was never able to complete his remodeling of the Bentley House before he passed away in 1979. During the four years he worked on the house he was able to add a two-story addition to the rear of the house, plus adding a brick façade to the exterior, three dormers across the front roof, and a slate roof on the entire house. The house sat empty for 26 years until 2005 when it was lost to an unforgivable act of arson. Exterior and interior photos of the house made by this writer in April 2002 are posted with his Benjamin Bentley article at the Alexander County, NC, GenWeb site.



In a telephone conversation with the History Room librarian of the Davie County Public Library in Mocksville, NC, on October 16, 2006, this writer was shocked to learn of the demise of the Bentley house on 17 February 2005 through a senseless act of arson. With the librarian’s help, he was able to locate two newspaper articles which give details about the tragic fire.

Davie County Enterprise-Record
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2005 page 1.

Teens Charged With Setting Fire To House
by Mike Gunning
Davie County Enterprise-Record

Two students at South Davie Middle School were charged with arson after they confessed to burning down a 200-year-old house in Cooleemee.
Police have not released their names because of their ages.
The boys, ages 14 and 13, cut school last Thursday and during the morning hours entered the Family Dollar Store on Wilkesboro Street, said Davie Sheriff's Detective Robert Trotter.
They were charged with larceny of one cigarette lighter and a box of cigars, which the boys smoked after breaking into the unoccupied house at the corner of Daniels Road and Carter Lane, the detective said.
At 11 a.m. neighbors reported seeing smoke billowing from the structure and called the fire department.
"I could see the smoke all the way from the firehouse. It was coming up pretty good," Chief Wayne Williams of the Jerusalem Fire Department said. Jerusalem is approximately three miles from the scene.
William's unit was the first to respond, and he immediately noticed the fire had spread to the woods behind the house. Williams knew he had to call in back up.
"We were concerned with the way the wind was blowing that day." Williams said. "Plus, it was difficult to put the fire out because the house was being used to store hay for feed."
Cooleemee and Mocksville departments assisted.
Lt. Andy Lipscomb of the Mocksville Fire Department said there was not much left of the house when they arrived.
"It was burned up pretty good," Lipscomb said. "The house was a total loss."
Trotter and Detective Stuart Parker investigated. Trotter said that neighbor's reported seeing two boys in the area. After driving around, Trotter said they spotted the boys who matched the description.
"We asked a few questions, then brought all the parents in for a complete interview at the sheriff's department," Trotter said, "they admitted to starting the fire and stealing a lighter from the store. It was no accident."
According to court records, one of the suspects has a prior arson conviction, and is on probation for that offense. The other child has no prior convictions.


Letter to the Editor, Davie County Enterprise-Record, March 3, 2005, written by Evelyn Daniel, Marjorie D. Foster, and the Daniel Family.

Firefighters Tried to Save Historic Structure

To the editor:

With life moving at the speed of light, sometimes it’s easy to overlook the simple acts of kindness and bravery. Like the dedication, commitment and work ethics of our volunteer firefighters. On Thursday, Feb. 17, one of the oldest homes in Davie County was destroyed by fire. My family has owned the old log “Bentley House” since 1945. According to the historical records and genealogical research done by my late father, Armand T. Daniel, the home was constructed between 1780 and 1784. Benjamin Bentley is credited with the original construction of one grandest and largest homes in the area now called Davie County. The original house consisted of two rooms, 20x20 ft. each, constructed of hand hewed forest pine logs spanning 20 feet each. The rooms were spaced 10 feet apart leaving a total of 50 feet of width. Two 50-ft. pine logs were then laid on top of the structure across the front and back. An upstairs story, called a garret, of the same size was placed on top with addition 50-ft. logs spanning the width. The original Bentley House was 2,000 square feet, a very large home for the period. In the early 1800s, a 20x20 kitchen was added 15 feet away and later enclosed for a dining room. Other floors and rooms had been added throughout time. My father, during his period of restoration before his death in 1979, had added more rooms for a total of 8,500 square feet. Unfortunately, he was never able to complete his dream but he had uncovered the history of the home and had the major architectural designs on display.

The log framing in the house and the enormous additions made it a unique place. Although restoration had to be abandoned after my father’s death, it held many memories of my childhood while he worked on it in his final years. Many historians have come from as far away as Ohio just to view the home. The 225-year-old logs went up in a flash. The slate roofs came crashing down. The volunteers of the Jerusalem Fire Department and others spent the entire day pumping water and foam on the remains. We knew the structure could not be saved, but hoped the surrounding buildings, trees and land could be spared. The wind made for a terrible day to fight a fire. The smoke was horrendous, yet the firefighters stood among the rubble for more than eight hours. They had to cut a very old burning oak tree near the structure along with employing the use of a bulldozer. All of this was a very dangerous job. I did mention a volunteer job. Most fire departments in the county were involved in some way, either assisting or on backup call. The refilled water and foam trucks just kept coming. As I understand it, at least 55,000 gallons of water, that’s more than 42 tanker truck loads, plus 25 gallons of concentrated foaming solution at a cost of over $650 were used in the containment of the fire. We especially want to thank the brave men and women of the Jerusalem, Mocksville and Cooleemee departments for the majority of the work. There may have been other departments that I failed to see, but we want to thank any and everyone who assisted in controlling the calamity. The sheriff’s department, the EMTs, the US Forest Service, the Fire Marshall, the NC Wildlife, we had them all. Everyone worked well together, and we understand the responsible parties have been detained. It’s a sad day when we lost part of our history to such a senseless act perpetrated by two teen-age boys.

The moral here is, please support your local fire departments. Let them know you are thankful for their dedication and humbled by their unselfish donation of their own time to help someone in need. Buy their chicken pie dinners or whatever else they sell. Or, lend a hand, it’s the least we can do.

Marjorie D. Foster, Evelyn Daniel and the Family of the late Armand T. Daniel Mocksville

Rent Rolls 1771-1772

Frederick County, Maryland

Rent Due on Land in Frederick County, 1771-1772

A List of Persons who stand charged with lands on Frederick County which are under such circumstances as rendered it out of the Power of George Scott, Farmer of the said County to collect the Rents and therefore Claims Allowance under his articles for the same - from March 1771 to March 1772.

Included in the alphabetical listing are the names:

Jacob Banker

Thomas Bentley

No record has yet been found for Thomas Bentley’s disposition of his 100 acre tract named “Slavery.” This could have been the land referenced above. Further research may reveal more about this.

In Walter Clark’s The State Records of North Carolina is found an undated petition where Thos. Bentley subscribed his name along with twenty-six other individuals who were residents of the Bear Creek area of Davie County. This petition, directed from John Crouse to North Carolina’s Governor, Thomas Burke, can be dated as 1781 or 1782 as these were the years Burke served as governor.

Petition of John Crouse

State Records of North Carolina, Walter Clark, 1901,

Vol. XIX -- 1782-'84. p926

To his Excellency Thomas Burke, Esqr., Captain General, Governor,

Commander ?in-Chief in and over the State of North Carolina, &c.

The Petition of John Crouse humbly sheweth that your Petitioner of

the Society of Dunkards, Haven bought a piece of Land in Rowan County

Lying on the Waters of Bear Creek, and by a man a Near Nabor, Thomas

Maxwell, who has Entered the Sd. Land and has forewarned your humble

Petitioner and forewarned him from tiling the land, and is Determined

to Drive him from the Sd. Land. And your Humble Petitioner being a

Poor, Harmless and inoffensive man, having bought sd. land at a very

dear rate; whereas, aforetime said Thomas Maxwell pretended no right

nor Claim to said land, your humble Petitioner being a poor Dunkard

and past Common Slow, both in words and axtions, but more expecially

he was he acknowledges was too slow, for when the land office was first

opened the aforesaid Thomas Maxwell being of a cruel and Coveting

disposition goes amedately and enters aforesd. land, and your humble

Petitioner what through Ignorance and what through being too slow he

neglected either entering his land or entering a Cavit against the man

that had entered it, till the first three months wer out that was alowd

for every one to Cavit in, that had any Ocation; therefore your humble

Petitioner does humbly beg that your Excellency might be pleased to

point out some way wherein he might be redrest and come to the right of

his land again and he will ever think himself in duty bound to be

thankfull to your Excellency for the Same.

We the subscribers hereof, do know asshuredly the right of the said

land belongs to the above named John Crouse and we have known sd. Crouse

a long time and we are satisfied that he is but a simple and very honest


Joseph Renshaw, Jacob Cellare [Kellar],

Joseph Roland, John Hendricks,

Michel Beam, Daniel Lewis,

John James, John Williakson [Wilcockson],

Isaac Renshaw, Willis VanCleave,

Samuel Doriah, Ralph VanCleave,

Jacob Rethly<sic>, Aaron VanCleave,

Abraham Wellty, Benjamin VanCleave,

Thos. Bentley, Thomas Stapleton,

Abraham Renshaw, Jun., Gasper Roland,

Christian Gros., James Hendricks,

Isaac Anderson, William Willesson,

Abrm. Renshaw, Senr., Samuel Williakson [Wilcockson].

Elijah Renshaw

Many of the subscribing witnesses to Jacob Crouse’s petition, who were living in the Forks of the Yadkin area, share a Frederick County, Maryland, connection; some also lived in the Great Pipe Creek area where Thomas Bentley owned land before moving to the “Forks” area.

20 June 1766, Recorded 20 June 1766. Gasper Roland of Frederick Co., MD to Abraham Welty of Frederick Co., MD, for 320 pounds current money of America , two tracts of land lying and being in the county aforesaid and contiguous to each other: Good Spring..near a branch called the Grind Stone a branch of Great Pipe hundred hundred [sic] acres; the other called Small Hope, 13 ½ acres. Signed Gasper Roland. Wit: William Luckett, Enoch Innis. Mary, wife to Gasper Roland, relinquished her right to dower. Frederick Co., MD, Deeds,, Liber K, page 605, 1765-1767 (SLFHL 0013940.

20 Nov 1770, recorded 23 Nov 1770. Abram Welty, of Frederick Co., MD, farmer, to Abraham Roland of Frederick Co., MD, farmer, for 450 pounds current money for two tracts of land in Frederick Co., on a draught of Great Pipe Creek called the Grind Stone Branch: 1) Good Spring of 100 acres, 2) Small Hope of 13 ½ acres; Magdalena, wife of Abraham Welty. Frederick Co., MD, Deeds,, Liber N, page 455, 1770-1772 (SLFHL 0013942).

2 Feb 1788, recorded 1 Aug 1788. Abraham Wiltey dec’d heirs and Jacob Crouse, executor, of Rowan Co., NC, to John Roland, of Rowan Co., NC, for 200 pounds current money of NC for 150 acres on Bear Creek; land part of a parcel purchased by Abraham Wiltey from John Wilcockson Sen. Signed Jacob Crouse. Wit: Joseph Roland, Daniel Hendricks. Rowan Co., NC, Deed Book 11, page 490, 1775-1789 (SLFHL 0019784).

2 Feb 1788, recorded 1 Feb 1796. Abraham Wilty, dec’d heirs by Jacob Crouse, executor, of Rowan Co., NC, to Joseph Roland of Rowan Co., NC, for 230 pounds current money for 200 acres; land bounded by John Roland. Rowan Co., NC, Deed Book 14, page 364, 1795-1797 (SLFHL 0019788).

20 Aug 1796, recorded 1 Aug 1798. Gasper Rowland of Rowan Co., NC, to Jacob Kellar of Rowan Co., NC, for 185 pounds current money of NC for 320 acres in Rowan Co. on Weaver’s Creek, bounded by BENJAMIN BENTLEY, John Johnson, Rudolph Neat’s corner. Signed Kasper Roland. Wit: John Keller his mark, John Hendrix. Rowan Co., NC, Deed Book 16, page 341, 1798-1799 (SLFHL 0019790.

These are only a few of the many deeds concerning the Rowland family in Maryland and Rowan County, North Carolina, which gives many references to other landowners in the Bear Creek area of present day Davie County, North Carolina.



Militia List of Tyrrell County, North Carolina, Alligator District, 1754

Private Thos Bently 41 (original place on list)



The earliest reference to be found concerning Thomas Bentley of old Rowan County as being in North Carolina is the 1768 Rowan County tax list of Morgan Bryan’s District which included the Forks of the Yadkin area presently located in Davie County Here Thomas and his son, Benjamin, are listed separately at one poll each. In the 1778 Rowan tax list of Capt. Lyon’s District, Benjamin Bentley, is listed with property valued at 336 pounds. Also listed is one “Thomas Bentley junr” with property valued at 609 pounds and who is evidently Benjamin’s father, since no record has been found to verify or substantiate Thomas Bentley had a son named Thomas, Jr.

On 17 December 1769 Thomas Bentley wrote a letter requesting that his son be permitted to sign the Rowan County marriage bond, issued by Thomas Frohock, allowing Aaron Freeman to marry his daughter, Mary Bentley, as follows:

Sr [Sir] if you please to let Aaron Freeman have licence for my daughter Marry [sic] Bentley I am Sattisfied so far let my son sign the licence bond I hope you are in better health then when I saw you last No more at present but your humb servt [humble servant]

December ye 17th day 1769 [signed] Thos Bentley

Wits [Witnesses] present

Benjamin Bentley (his mark)

James Freeman (his mark)

The above bond was issued with Benjamin Bentley signing as the bondsman, or surety.

At the 9 August 1771 session of Rowan County Court, Thomas Bentley’s flesh mark, or livestock brand, was recorded as a “Crap and a Hole in the Right ear & a Crap of the Left.” The minutes of Rowan County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, book four, page 128, show that Thomas Bentley, among others, appeared in court 4 November 1777 and swore an oath of fidelity to the State of North Carolina. The Rowan County court minutes dated 8 August 1778 lists those persons who “refused or neglected” to take the Oath of Allegiance to the Sate. Included in the list for Capt. Lyon’s District is the name of Daniel Bentley, and the names of Bentley neighbors: Mesheck Davis, John Willcockson, Snr., Mark Whitacre, Adam Hall Snr., Samuel Willcoxson and Israel Willcoxson being also on the list. Evidently Daniel Bentley and his future brother-in-law, Meshack Davis, neglected to take the oath for they both would later apply for Revolutionary War pensions. A list dated 3 November 1782 details the names of men living in Capt. Pearson’s Company who were summoned by William Butler, constable, to show why their property should not be confiscated. Included in the 1782 list are the names of Anthony Pealor [Peeler], John Wilcockson, Danul [Daniel] Lewis, and “Richard Whitaker Runaway.” “Runaway” simply meant the individual was no longer in the area. This was Richard Whitaker’s case as he moved with Thomas Bentley’s family in 1782 to Lincoln County, North Carolina, having married Thomas Bentley’s daughter, Rachel Bentley.

No records have been found to indicate when Thomas Bentley first made entry to or purchased land in Rowan County prior to the 1768 tax listing. No settler was able to enter a claim for vacant land in the Granville District from 1763, the year of Granville’s death, until the state opened its own land office in 1778 after the Revolutionary War. On 7 December 1779 Thomas Bentley made entry for 100 acres of vacant land lying on the water of the South Yadkin River adjoining Benjamin Bentley, Anthony Peeler, and Carson’s [James Carson] land, which he made over, or assigned, to Alexander Carons [Cairns/Carnes]. On 30 June 1778 Benjamin Bentley, Thomas’ son, made an entry for 640 acres of vacant land on Bear Creek adjoining Adam Hall, Abraham Welty, [John] McElhaney, Anthony Peelor [Peeler], Carson, Wm. Frohock, and Thos. Bentley. Benjamin received State Grant number 97 for this tract on 21 March 1780.

In Wynette Parks Haun’s Halifax District North Carolina Superior Court of Law & Equity 1785-1790 (Bills & Answers), 1797-1805 (Minutes) , pages 135-137, is found the Inventory of the Sale of the Estate of William Frohock, Jan 28, 17__. Thomas Bentley and many of his neighbors from the “forks of the Yadkin” were at this sale since William Frohock was a near neighbor. On page 134 of the court minutes the Court ordered that the Clerk of the County Court of Rowan issue letters testamentary to Thomas Frohock, executor of the estate of William Frohock, deceased, with the will annexed. This was the same Thomas Frohock to whom Thomas Bentley wrote the letter about his daughter Mary’s marriage to Aaron Freeman. At the Frohock sale Thomas Bentley purchased one check reel at the price of 1 pound, 1 shilling , 6 pence. Also at the sale were Thomas’ adjoining property owners and neighbors Daniel Lewis and Joseph Williams. Others attending from “the forks of the Yadkin (southern Davie County) were Jesse Nighton [Knighton] and Richmond Pearson. The land of Daniel Lewis lay north of and joined the land of Benjamin Bentley, son of Thomas Bentley. Daniel Lewis married Hannah Wilcoxon [Wilcockson], sister of John Wilcockson, who had married Sarah Boone, daughter of Squire Boone and sister to Daniel Boone. John Wilcockson’s land also joined the land of Benjamin Bentley.







These photos were taken by James W. Miller, Jr., of the Bentley House on Bear Creek in Davie County, as it stood in April 2002 before the tragic fire of 17 February 2005.



The above map shows land grants obtained by settlers in the southern most section of Davie County. The map of the whole county, drawn by Andrew Lagle, can be seen in its entirety in the Davie County Public Library. Copies of the map can be ordered from the library located in Mocksville, North Carolina.


New evidence seems to point to a birth date of about 1716 for Thomas Bentley and that he came to America from England as an indentured servant, settling on the Great Pipe Creek of Frederick (now Carroll) Co., Maryland; receiving a grant for 50 acres in 1744 called Hill Spring. Here he married his wife Hannah (married name unknown) about 1744-45. She was not a THOMAS or a BEASLEY as many researchers have reported though out internet genealogical family pages and confusing him with the Bentley family in Virginia and eastern North Carolina. He was not born or married in North Carolina.. In Maryland, Thomas Bentley was very involved with the families of German Baptist Brethren (Dunkards) and also Quakers. His wife, Hannah, is most likely the daughter of one of these families in the Frederick County area. Likewise, he was associated with families of these same faiths in the Bear Creek area of the Forks of the Yadkin area of old Rowan County in what is today southern Davie County, North Carolina.

Thomas Bentley appears to have been a patriot in his political conviction for it is found on 4 November 1777 he and others, including neighbors, Wm. Frohock and Anthony Peeler, appeared in Rowan County Court and swore an Oath of Fidelity to the State of North Carolina. The Forks of the Yadkin was a hotbed of Tory, or Loyalist, activity during the Revolutionary struggle for independence. Here Benjamin Bentley was appointed Constable of the “lower end of the forks of the Yadkin” by the Rowan County Court to serve from 16 February 1771 until 7 February 1772. Located here was Veach’s Muster Ground where Capt. Samuel Bryan, a loyalist and son of patriot Morgan Bryan, reputedly has a fist fight with Lt. Richmond Pearson, a patriot in Capt. Bryan’s company, to determine where the company would be patriot or Tory. The Lieutenant was the victor and from then the Forks of the Yadkin Company was for liberty, while Capt. [later Colonel] Bryan’s supporters on Dutchman’s Creek, several miles northwest of the Bentley homestead, remained Loyalists.

An excerpt from James W. Wall’s Davie County: A Brief History, page 24, details the following concerning sentiments in the forks of the Yadkin during the struggle for independence:

Extreme cruelties, persecution, murder, and looting were practiced by members of both philosophies. The Moravian records note that in 1776 “we heard that up on the Yadkin many who sided with the King were driven from house and home by persecution; and that these people were hiding in the woods in our neighborhood.” This is the first mention of “Outlyers,” as they were called. The year 1780 seems to have been the worst. The Moravian records refer to “infrequent acts of robbery and murder” in that year. On October 4, 1780, the Moravians reported, “We hear that on the Atkin [Yadkin] a party of Tories has fallen on the people, but only on those who had formerly done the same to them.

Thomas Bentley of old Rowan County, NC (wife Hannah) did not serve in the Continental army as a soldier but he has been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution as a patriot since he sold supplies to the Revolutionary cause. On 6 December 1780, he was considered as a "Patriot" by selling corn at a price of 75 cents per bushel. His descendants can enroll in the DAR based on this service. Mrs. Margie Bertie of Titusville, FL, had Thomas Bentley's name added to the roster in 1987, DAR National Number 06918939 A658, DAR Computer code Number 3-037-FL.

The following is a transcript by James Miller of the original voucher which can be found in Revolutionary Army Accounts in the NC State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

No. 246 State of North Carolina, Rowan County) This may Certify that as Commissioner for the County aforesaid, I have purchased from Thomas Bently thirty five Bushels Corn at the Prices ascertained in Spanish milled dollars, by a resolution of Congress dated the 25th February 1780 amounting in the whole to Twenty Six & one fourth Spanish milled dollars, which Sum is to bear Interest at 6 pcent until paid, agreeable to the act of General Assembly in such case made. By me this 6th day of Decr in the year 1780. Alexander Long, C. P.

Likewise Benjamin Bentley has also been recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution based upon his selling of supplies to the Revolutionary cause:

No. 148. State of North Carolina. Rowan County) This may Certify that as Commissioner for the County aforesaid, I [have] purchased from Benjamin Bently Thirty bushells Corne at the Prices ascertained in Spanish milled Dollars, by a resolution of Congress dated the 25th February 1780, amounting in the whole to Twenty two & on[e] half Spanish milled Dollars, which Sum is to bear Interest at 6 P[er] Cent until paid, agreeable to an Act of General Ass[embly] in Such Case made. By me this 13th day of Decemr in the Year 1780. Alexander Long, Commiss.

Thomas Bentley was paid for services or supplies rendered to the Revolutionary cause as detailed in a manuscript volume in the custody of the North Carolina State Archives titled “Revolutionary Army Accounts.”

Hillsborough, Treasury Office; “A list of Specie and Currency Certificates, received from the County Treasurers, Entry Takers &c,” October the 3rd 1785.

John Brevard, Sheriff of Rowan County, paid Thomas Bently the principal amount of 10 pounds, 10 shillings and interest of 2 pounds, 10 shillings.

Thomas and Hannah Bentley’s son, Daniel, who was born 1752 in Frederick County, Maryland, did not escape the effects of the Revolutionary War. After having served as a soldier and returned home, Daniel married Nancy Lewis, their Rowan County marriage bond dated 8 February 1782. Daniel Bentley and Peter (his mark) Lewis signed the bond. Nancy Lewis was a member of the family who established the Lewis Quaker Meeting House that existed as early as 1771 about two miles north-northeast of the Bentley homestead. Shortly after their marriage, Daniel and Nancy left Rowan County in 1782 with Thomas and Hannah Bentley and the rest of the family to settle in the Indian Creek area of eastern Lincoln County, North Carolina. Daniel and Nancy would later remove to Washington County, Virginia, for a few years and then on to Perry County, Kentucky.

On the first day of January, 1830, Daniel Bentley, seventy-eight years old [born 1752], appeared at the Perry County, Kentucky, Court in order to make application for a Revolutionary War pension. He declared on oath that

‘the year forgotten at Rowan County CH [Court House] N Carolina he enlisted for 2 years in the company commanded by Burris in the 7th Regiment..he supposes in N Carolina line on continental establishment but it may have been the 7th Regiment on Virginia line on continental establishment either Regiment was commanded by Col. Campbell..that he continued to serve in the said corps until the expiration of his term of service when he was discharged from the service by Capt. Burris at the place of his enlistment aforesaid..” Daniel also made oath that “he resides a considerable distance from the court house and for several years has been confined at home by disease besides he was told that he had no chance to succeed unless he had a discharge or could prove his service.” Continuing Daniel swore “That he is by occupation a farmer but so old and diseased he is unable to work he has no family but his wife Betsey ___ years of age unable to support herself they are supported by the charity of their children grown and left them and kind neighbors.”

Anthony Hall and Thomas Stuart gave oath before the court they knew from their own knowledge that the statement of Daniel Bentley as to his enlistment under Capt. Burris in the 7th Regiment North Carolina line on continental establishment was true having seen him enlist and they knew he served in the continental line for about two years. Stuart was present and saw Bentley discharged by Capt. Burris at the place stated and they “have long known said Bentley and that he is to be relied upon as a man of strict integrity.”


Civil strife and the war itself took a heavy toll not only in Rowan County, but in the state as well. Many families began leaving the “forks” area for other parts of the state; some leaving North Carolina entirely for newly opened lands further west. In 1782 Thomas, his wife Hannah, and some of the children moved to the Indian Creek area of eastern Lincoln County, North Carolina. Accompanying Thomas and Hannah were Daniel and Nancy (Lewis) Bentley; Meshack Davis, who had married Thomas and Hannah’s daughter Lydia about 1774 in Rowan County; Richard Whiteaker, and his wife Rachel Bentley; and Thomas and Hannah’s daughter, Margaret, who would later marry William Yonts in Lincoln Co. NC. During this same year Benjamin Bentley moved his family to land he had purchased in Iredell (later Wilkes/now Alexander) County, settling in the Cedar Run area of the South Yadkin River. Benjamin’s sister and brother-law, Aaron and Mary (Bentley) Freeman, who married in Rowan County 17 December 1769, also moved to this area and then later to Buncombe County, North Carolina. It is not known if Thomas and Hannah’s daughter, Patience Bentley, who married Peter Lewis Jr., brother of Simon Lewis, removed from the Rowan County area.

Iredell County, North Carolina, was formed in 1788. During the first term of court on 25 March 1789 a road jury was appointed by the court to lay out the Cove Gap Road [leading from Rich land Cove Gap to Joseph Sharpe’s] , viz: Samuel Smith, Joshua Davis, James Davis, Lat Hudson, Hugh Campbell, Benjamin BENTLEY, Adam Hall, John Meadows, Will Stevenson, James Stevenson, Will Cowan, Nat Pairs, Ford Fortner, John White, Will Brown, David McQuen, Edward Carter, Howel Barker, Will Hughs, Will Campbell, Joe Nableton, James Patterson, Samuel Williams, Jo Millsaps, Will Millsaps, Joseph Millsaps, Henry Revis, John Gortney, John Smith, Edward Griffith, Solomon Kelly, John Arrington, Abner Davis, Thos. Campbell and John Kelly. That is almost a complete roll call of the settlers of northwest Iredell and northeast Alexander. Besides, four slaves are named in the list, Stevenson’s Luk, Cook’s Deek, Baker’s Jack, and Sharp’s Deek. Iredell - Piedmont County, page 173. (Iredell County Court Minutes Book 1, page 4.)

On 1 January 1783 Thomas Bentley bought 100 acres for 30 pounds on both sides of Indian Creek in Lincoln County from Robert Armstrong and Hugh Beaty, executors of the last will and testament Francis Beaty, deceased, of Mecklenburg Co., NC. ; originally grated to Francis Beatty 22 December 1768 & No. 101. Robert Armstrong (seal), Hugh Beaty (seal); Wit: Francis Beaty, Wallace Beaty. Recorded Oct Term 1783. ( Lincoln County, NC, Deed Book 2, pages 631, 632)

Also on 1 January 1783, Thomas also bought 120 acres from Thomas Wilsh (Welch), planter, for 20 pounds; part of 200 acres originally granted to Thomas Welsh 5 May 1769 & No. 343, and the remainder of the tract is lost by an older right… This land also lay on both sides of Indian Creek. Thomas Welsh (his mark); Wit: Forney G. Norman, Wallace Beatty. Recorded October Term 1783. (Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 2 page 636.)

In 1789 Thomas, about 73 years old, may have begun to experience poor health as on the fourth of May that year he conveyed to his wife, Hannah for the natural love and affection "which I bear & have unto Hannah Bentley, my beloved wife" all his goods, chattels, leases, plate jewels, working tools and one negro man named Saul.

To All People to Whom These Presents Come, I, Thomas Bentley of Lincoln County in the State of North Carolina & on the fourth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & eighty nine Send Greeting Know ye, that I, Thomas Bentley, for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which I bear & have unto Hannah Bentley, my beloved wife and for also other good causes and considerations met thereunto moving here given granted and by these presents do give grant & confirm unto the said Hannah Bentley, all my goods, chattels, Lesses, debts, plate, jewels, working tools, one Negro man named Saul, and all my other substance….

In presence of Thomas Bentley (his B mark)

Test. Francis McNemar

Lamuel Saunders

Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 3, page 508


In the foregoing conveyance Thomas was giving all his earthly goods to his wife, Hannah. His land was not conveyed at this time.

In the 1790 Lincoln County census, Hana Bentley was listed as the head of household with three other females in her house which are probably the younger daughters, or grand-daughters, which are not yet married, and one slave. Thus it can be determined Thomas died between the dates of May 4, 1789, and the census of 1790. Hannah sold to her "daughter," Margaret Bentley, all her goods, chattels, and plantation for "natural love and affection" on April 1, 1793. Margaret Bentley married by bond in Lincoln County on September 25, 1794 to William Younce (Yonts). Christian Eaker was the bondsman for the marriage.

1790 Lincoln County, NC, census:

Head/no. of free white males/no. of free white females/slaves

Thom Welsh 1 2 3

Hana Bently 0 0 4 1

Mish Davis 1 4 4

Fran. McNemar 1 3 3

Danl Bently 1 3 2

Benjamin Bentley and his family are listed in the 1790 Iredell County, North Carolina, census as follows: four white males over the age of sixteen years including the head of the household, and 4 free white females. This would appear to be Benjamin, his wife, three sons and three daughters. The name of Benjamin’s wife can be found in an Iredell County power of attorney dated 23 March 1837 wherein James Bentley names “my Father and Mother Benjamin & Jane Bentley,” James Bentley also names his sons John, Ambros, Joel, and William R. Bentley.

On 1 April 1793 Hannah Bentley sold all her earthly goods to her daughter Margaret Bentley.

To all People to whom these Presents shall come, I, Hannah Bentley, of Lincoln County in the State of North Carolina and on the first day April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety three send greeting know ye that I, Hannah Bentley for and in consideration of the natural love and affection I bear and have unto my daughter Mergert Bentley and also for other causes and considerations met hereunto moving have given and granted and by these presents do give grant & confirm unto the said Mergret Bentley all my goods & chattels my land & plantation my debts plate, jewels working tools one negro man named Saul and all my other substance whatsoever moveable & immoveable of what kind Nature & Quality soever the same are and in what place or places. Soever the same shall be found as well as in my custody of possessions as in the possession or hands power & custody of any other person or persons whatsoever, or all those goods & chattels land & plantation, debts and all the other aforesaid premises unto the said Margaret Bentley her heirs Executors & admrs [administrators] to her and their own proper use forever and I the said Hannah Bentley all & singular the aforesaid goods & chattels & premises to the said Margaret Bentley her executors admrs I assign against all persons & do warrant and do forever defend and by these presents. In witness thereof I have set my hand and affixed my seal the day & year first above written.

Test. Francis McNemar Hannah (her mark) Bentley

Lydia (her mark) McNemar

Lincoln County April Sessions 1793) The within deed was proved in open court by the oath of Francis McNemar and ordered to be registered. Witness: Jo Dickson Cle [Clerk]

Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 16 page 371.


Margaret Bentley married William Yonts; their Lincoln County, North Carolina, marriage bond dated 25 September 1794. Bondsman for the marriage was Christian Eaker.

During the January 1795 court session for Lincoln County, the court ordered that “Hannah Bentley be notified to attend our next County court to administer on the Estate of Thomas Bentley her late husband otherwise Letters [of administration] will issue accordingly.” At the April 1795 court session letters of administration were issued to Hannah, “widow & relict,” with Jacob Ricard and Jacob Bollinger as her securities in the sum of 400 pounds.

Hannah Bentley, acting as administrator of her deceased husband’s estate, stated in a document to the Lincoln County Court dated 8 July 1795 that Thomas Bentley, in his life, had at different times given parts of his property to his children to provide for and to advance them and that also before his death had made a deed of appointment for the purpose of supporting her in the event that she survived him. She knew of no debts due from the estate . Hannah proceeded to name the articles that had been conveyed to her, consisting of livestock, household articles, a negro boy named Saul, one big Bible, and other farm and clothing articles. Hannah signed her mark upon the document.


On 17 April 1795 Daniel Bentley and Benjamin, the only “two sons and heirs “ of Thomas Bentley, deceased, sold both of the tracts of land Thomas had purchased in 1783, withholding 25 acres for the use of Hannah Bentley, “widow & relict of Thomas Bentley.” This land was sold to Jacob Bollinger. Witnesses were sons-in-law of Thomas Bentley who were Meshack Davis and William Yonts. This is a very important deed for it establishes the fact that Thomas and Hannah Bentley were the parents of Daniel and Benjamin Bentley.

Know all men by these parents; that this indenture made this 17th day of April in the year of our Lord 1795 between Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY both of the county of Lincoln and State of North Carolina of the one part and Jacob Bullinger of the county and State aforesaid of the other part. Witnesseth for and in consideration of the sum of 80 pounds to the said Daniel and Benjamin BENTLEY in hand paid the said Jacob Bullinger the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged and they the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY have bargained sold and aliened enf_____ and confirmed and by these presents doth bargain sell align enf _______ and confirm unto the said Jacob Bullinger his heirs and asigns forever under the condition and exceptions hereafter mentioned two parcels and tracts of land joining each other one situated lying and being in the county and state aforesaid on both sides of Indian Creek between two tracts of land formerly granted to Francis Beatty including a shoal beginning at a black oak thence east 126 poles to a hickory thence south 127 poles to a black oak thece west 126 poles crossing the creek to a white oak then north to the begining containing by survey 100 acres being a tract of land granted to Francis Beatty by a patent bearing date December 22 AD 1768 and by Robert Armstrong and Hugh Beatty executor of the said Francis Beatty deceased and by a virtus of a power given then by the will of the said Francis Beatty conveyed to Thomas BENTLEY by a deed bearing date January 1, 1783 and the said Thomas BENTLEY dying intestate the aforesaid tract of land by due and regular course of law descended to the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY the only sons and heirs of the said Thomas (BENTLEY) deceased. The other tract joining running into and intersecting the above described land on both sides of Indian Creek begining at a white oak on the east side of the creek abnd runs north 42 degrees west 180 poles to a white oak then south 42 degrees # 180 poles to a hickory thence crossing the creek to the begining containing by estimation 200 acres but only 120 acres is intended to be conveyed or so much thereof as may remain after the claim or interference of the above described land is satisfied which runs into a big tract of the title older and better whereby a part is lost being a tract of land surveyed for Thomas Welch and granted to him by a patent bearing date May 5, AD 1769 and conveyed by the said Thmas Welch to Thomas BENTLEY by a deed bearing date January 1, AD 1783 and at the decease of the said Thomas BENTLEY who died intestate left to his two sons and heirs Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY and now by them conveyed in manner and form aforesaid excepting notwithstanding 25 acres out of what remains on the south side of the creek for the purpose and to the use of Hannah BENTLEY widow and relict of the said Thomas Bentley deceased and to be left and remain to her the said Hannah BENTLEY her heirs and asigns forever being the land on which the said Hannah now lives and improves and the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY heirs of Thomas BENTLEY aforesaid for themselves and Thier heirs doth hereby set over and convey to the said Jacob Bullinger his heirs and assigns together with the before mentioned premises as there described and the aportenances and hereditaments thereunto belonging or appertaining and also all woods ways waters and water courses and all the right interest profits and estate of then the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY in any manner or sort appertaining to belonging to the premises to have and to hold the said lands tenements and hereditaments hereby dold with their appurtenances to the said Jacob Bullinger to the only proper use and behoof of him and the said Jacob Bullinger his heirs and assigns forever and the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY for themselves and their heirs doth hereby promise covenant and agree to and with the said Jacob Bullinger his heirs that they the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY and Thier heirs executors and administrators shall and will warrant and defend the said premises to the said Jacob Bullinger his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claim or claims of all persons whatsoever which might in any manner affect or incumber the premises contrary to the true intent and meaning of these presents provided nevertheless that this warranty shall not extend and it is hereby expressed and declared to be the true intent of the parties contracting that it does not extend so as to make the said Daniel and Benjamin BENTLEY any way liable to the said Jacob Bullinger or his heirs or assigns for the before mentioned deficiency or loss in the last describes tract or as to the 25 acres intended to be reserved for the use of Hannah BENTLEY aforesaid and it is also expressly provided to be the meaning and intention of the parties contracting that the 25 acres as aforesaid referenced for the use of Hannah BENTLEY is not included neither shall it by any possible construction either in law or equity by considered as included in this deed of conveyance made in manner and form as aforesaid. In witness whereof the said Daniel BENTLEY and Benjamin BENTLEY hath hereunto set their hands and affixed Their seals the day and year 1st above written.

Daniel Bentley

Benjamin Bentley (their marks)

Lincoln County

April Session 1795

The within deed was proven in open court by the oath of William Yonts and ordered to be registered.

Witnesses: Meshack Davies (his mark)

William Yonts

Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 17, page 211.


On 1 September 1795 the widow Hannah Bentley and her son, Daniel, sold to George Savage and Catherine Bollinger the plantation on which Hannah lived.

1 September 1795. Hannah Bentley & Daniel Bentley of Lincoln County to George Savage & Catherine Bollinger, both of Lincoln County, for 20 pounds, a tract of land that Thomas Bentley bought of Thomas Welch in Lincoln County on the waters of Indian Creek on the south side of the creek, it being the plantation she [Hannah Bentley] now lives on. It being the land [25 acres] that was accepted [excepted] in the deed that Daniel Bentley made to Jacob Bollinger [doesn’t give boundaries] Signed: Hannah Bentley (her mark), Daniel Bentley. Witnesses: Benj. Moore, Richard Whiteakker, William Yonts. Lincoln Co., NC, Deed Book 18, page 146.

Hannah was approximately 70 -75 years old when she sold this land. She had sold all her possessions to her daughter, Margaret Bentley, two years earlier. It is possible Hannah sold her goods and land so she could migrate with the families of her son Daniel Bentley and son-in-law Richard Whitaker to Washington County, Virginia, where they appear in the personal property tax lists for the years 1803, 1804 and 1805. Hannah probably died in Washington County, Virginia. She was not enumerated in the 1800 Lincoln County, NC, census. Daniel Bentley later removed to Kentucky, settling in the Perry County area, which would later become Floyd County, and finally Letcher County.

Daniel and Nancy (Lewis) Bentley are buried in the hilltop Bentley family cemetery located near Neon Junction in Letcher County. His tombstone reads “Daniel Bentley Born in England Died Jan. 15, 1839.” Nancy’s tombstone reads “Nancy Wife of Daniel Bently Born in England Died Oct. 4, 1843.” Also buried here is their son John Quiller Bentley who married Margaret Hamilton on 18 Feb 1819 in Floyd County, Kentucky. John’s tombstone reads “John Bentley Born 1788 Died Jul 3, 1858.” Margaret’s tombstone reads “Margret Wife of John Bentley Born 1797 Died Jan 1, 1841.” Mrs. Eleanor Tolliver Waters of Woodstock, Georgia, a descendant of Daniel and Nancy through their son, Benjamin who married Elizabeth “Betsy” Cress, furnished very good photos of the above tombstones in a letter to this writer dated 27 May 1987. There has been heavy discussion among descendants as to the phrase “Born in England” which is found on both Daniel and Nancy’s tombstones. In looking at the stones of Daniel, Nancy, John, and Margaret one notices all the stones are similar in appearance with a rounded top and the picture of a flying dove within the circumference of a circle at the top of the stone. An ascending dove, or flying bird, represents rebirth; the transport of the departed‘s soul to Heaven. One would venture to guess these stones were all erected within a close time period of each other; thus perhaps offering an explanation the place of birth on Daniel and Nancy’s tombstones was given by a descendant and erected at a later date. Land records seem to confirm Daniel’s parents, Thomas and Hannah Bentley, were in Maryland at the time of their marriage, so it seems more reasonable to think Daniel was born in the Frederick County area of Maryland. This writer is reasonably sure his ancestor, Benjamin Bentley, Daniel’s older brother, was born in Frederick County, Maryland.


In an email to this writer dated 31 December 2005, Weldon Whitaker of Schaumburg, IL, furnished the following information:

David Whitaker, son of Benjamin and grandson of Richard, tells in the History of Oregon, page 886, that “Grandfather Richard Whiteaker emigrated from Wales previous to the Revolution and settled in North Carolina, where he married Rachel Bently and reared a family of five sons and four daughters. He was a participant in the Revolutionary war and lived to be eighty-two years of age.”

About 1782 Rachel Bentley married Richard Whitaker while her parents were yet living on Bear Creek in the Forks of the Yadkin. Richard was probably the son of either Mark Whitaker or James Whitaker whose adjoining plantations lay southeast of the Bentley plantation on Bear Creek. (See Davie County Land Grant Map.) This Richard Whitaker was not the Richard Whitaker of Halifax County, North Carolina. Shortly after signing as a witness to the Lincoln County, North Carolina, deed of 1 September 1796 wherein Hannah Bentley and son, Daniel Bentley, sold 25 acres to George Bullinger, Richard and wife, Rachel, moved to Washington County, Virginia, from the Lincoln County area of North Carolina. This is where Richard resided until his death on 18 October 1838.

Meshack Davis, who witnessed the 17 April 1795 deed wherein Daniel Bentley and Benjamin Bentley sold land to Jacob Bullinger, applied for a Revolutionary War pension in Haywood County, North Carolina, at that county’s January 1841 session of court. In his pension application (number 2747), transcribed from microfilm in the Birmingham Public Library by Mrs. Joanne Smith Pirkle Wright, Mesheck Davis gave the following information in his declaration:

That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein stated to wit.

He was drafted and served a three months tour against the Cherokee Indians under Capt. Elijah Lyons, Colonel Locke and General Rutherford being his field officers. Some years after he turned out as volunteer and served three months in Capt. Jesse Knighton’s company in the vicinity of Wilminghton [sic] on the sea board and was at the skirmish of the Brick House. General Rutherford being the commanding officers of the campaign. That during both terms of service his place of residence was near Salisbury in Rowan County, N. C., that some three or four years after the close of the Revolutionary War, he removed to Lincoln County, N. C. [ca 1782], where he lived about fourteen years [ca 1796]. That he then removed to Wilkes County [NC] where he lived about eight years [ca 1804], then to Buncombe County where he lived at different places in that county until about three years ago when he became and yet is a citizen of Haywood County. That he has no record of his age to be relied on, but thinks from the best of means of reckon in his power he is about ninety two years of age [born 1749]. That he has no distinct recollection of his age when he first entered the service but thinks he was between twenty five and twenty six years of age having married at twenty five [ca 1774] and entered the service the same years [sic] about four months afterwards. That he was born in the state of Maryland and moved to North Carolina at the age of fifteen [ca 1764] being an orphan.”

…He further states that the reason he has not heretofore made any application for a pension is that he has been sick and confined for nearly eight years and lives some seventeen or twenty miles from town in a remote part of Haywood County on Pines Creek and have not been enabled to to since his first application to counsel, some sic months ago until this week to obtain the testimony of Simion Lewis whose affidavit is hereunto annexed.

Also offered as evidence was a letter addressed to “Cpt. Richmond Person [Pearson] living at the Fourth Yadkin from Jesse Knighten.”

December 25th 1781

Dear Sir

Meshack Davis was at my house after his Tickett of fifteen pounds fifteen shilling and likewise Daniel Bentleys Tickett that he is to receive for D. Bentley You remember I left a passel of Tickett with you after I moved a way to give to the men that was with me at the Wilmington Expodition and I left them with you please to pay to the men I left for you and you will oblidge your Friend [Signed] Jesse Knighten



Simion Lewis gave his deposition to the court on the behalf of Meshack Davis in the form of an affidavit taken by Samuel Pagdett, justice of the peace. Lewis, a very aged individual living in Burke County, North Carolina, had also been proved in open court to have been a soldier of the Revolution. In his affidavit Lewis gave oath to the following:

Simion Lewis age 72 years swears that he was well acquainted with Meshack Davis the applicate. That Deponent’s [Simion Lewis] brother intermarried with the sister of said applicant’s wife Patience Bentley. Deponent further states that he was in the tour secondly spoken of by applicant from Salisbury to the sea shore near Wilmington and had a skirmish at what was called the Brick House. Jesse Knighten was our Capt. Applicant states he belonged to the same mess as Meshack Davis during the said tour. Sworn before me this 26 day of January, 1841. Simeon (his X mark) Lewis, Samuel Padgett, Jp.


As of 11 June 1851 Meshack Davis, aged “about 101,” still had not been able to obtain a pension from the government beauracracy. Isaac Davis, son of Meshack, of Union County, Georgia, entered a claim for his deceased father’s pension on 6 August 1853, stating that Meshack died “on or about the 15th day of Oct. A.D. 1852 and that his mother Lidia Davis died on or about the 15th day of July, A.D. 1847, and that they were married on the 7th of May in the A.D. 1870 [sic].” Isaac Davis also named the other children and surviving heirs of Meshack Davis as follows: Aaron, William, Rutha, and John Davis.

Meshack Davis, named in the 1790 Lincoln County, North Carolina, census as “Mish Davis” and listed immediately after the household of Hana Bentley, had living in his household one white male above the age of sixteen, four white males below sixteen, and four white females.

On 9 November 1906 Mary “Polly” Caroline [Davis] Garland, daughter of Isaac Davis, entered a claim for a share of the money appropriated for the Eastern Cherokee Indians by the Act of Congress approved 30 June 1906, in accordance with the decree of the Court of Claims of 18 May 1905 and 28 May 1906. In her claim she stated the following:

Father’s name was Isaac Davis his father’s name was Meshack Davis who married Lydia Bentley her mother’s name was Easter Downing a full blooded Cherokee Indian from whom we claim.

If interpretation of the above information is correct, it is doubtful as far as Lydia’s mother being Easter Downing. Prior research shows Lydia to be the daughter of Thomas Bentley’s wife, Hannah, and that Hannah and Thomas married in Maryland, she probably being born in Maryland or England to one of the families of Quakers or Brethren who settled in the Frederick County, Maryland, area.

Polly Garland stated she was born 11 March 1821 in Buncombe County, North Carolina, a daughter of Isaac Davis, born in Buncombe County, and Rhoda (James) Davis, born “don’t know.” Polly named her husband as Ezekiel Garland, aged ninety-three years and deceased. Here parents were living in Fannin County, Georgia, in 1851. Polly named here brothers and sisters as follows: William Davis, born about 1819, died about 1862; John Davis, born about 1823, died “unknown”; Adline Davis, born about 1825, died 1905; Lizzie Davis, born about 1827, died “unknown”; Nancy Davis, born about 1829, died “unknown”; James Davis, born about 1831, died “unknown”; Sarah Davis, born 1833, living; and George Davis, born 1835, living. Paternal grandparents named were Meshack Davis, born in England [sic], and Lydia Davis, born in North Carolina. Her maternal grandparents were named as William James and Polly James, birthplaces unknown. Polly named the children of Meshack and Lydia Davis as follows: Elijah Davis, dead; Benjamin Davis, dead; Aaron Davis, dead; Isaac Davis, dead; James Davis, dead; Sarah Davis, dead; Elizabeth Davis, dead; and Ruth Davis, dead.

Polly C. (Davis) Garland died before a ruling was made on her claim. John Davis, age sixty-three, and Isaac L. Garland, age forty-four, both of Wilscot, Fannin County, Georgia, entered a claim 22 August 1907 for their share of any monies due them as heirs-at-law of Polly Garland. Both gave oath that Polly C. Garland died 17 May 1907. Isaac L. Garland stated he saw her buried on 18 May 1907 at Mt. Pleasant grave yard in Fannin County, Georgia.




Thomas Bentley of Maryland and old Rowan (Davie)/Lincoln Counties, North Carolina, is NOT the Thomas Bentley with wife Hannah BEASLEY as reported by Allan Bentley in "Descendants of William Bentley" in the Family Home Pages of Family Tree Maker, as follows:

"8. HANNAH4 BEASLEY (MARY3 BENTLEY, RICHARD2, WILLIAM1) was born December 29, 1714 in North Carolina. She married THOMAS BENTLEY, JR. Abt. 1746 in Wilkes County, North Carolina, son of THOMAS BENTLEY and MARY BEASLEY. He was born 1729 in Lincoln County, North Carolina, and died Abt. 1789 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.


Hannah BEASLEY is the 1st cousin once removed of Thomas BENTLEY, Sr., father of her husband, Thomas BENTLEY, Jr."

Our Thomas Bentley of Maryland married his wife Hannah (maiden name unknown) IN MARYLAND about 1744/45 prior to moving to North Carolina before 1767. Their children were born in Maryland prior to the move. As stated Thomas and Hannah were married in MARYLAND, not in Wilkes County, NC.

Thomas and Hannah Bentley were the parents of the following children:

1. Benjamin Bentley b. 1746-46 Frederick Co., Maryland, died before 15 March 1839 Wilkes Co., NC, married ca 1765 Jane (Holman?) b. 1750 d. Wilkes Co., NC.

2. Mary Bentley b. ca. 1749-52 Frederick Co., Maryland d. 1830-33 Buncombe Co., NC, married 17 Dec. 1769 Rowan Co., NC to Aaron Freeman.

3. Daniel Bentley b. 1752 Frederick Co., Maryland, died 15 Jan 1839 Letcher Co., KY, married 8 Feb 1782 Rowan Co., NC, to Nancy Lewis b. abt. 1759 d. 4 Oct 1845 Letcher Co., KY.

4. Rachel Bentley b. 1752-56 Frederick Co., Maryland, d. Washington Co., VA, married about 1782 Richard Whiteaker b. 1752 Maryland, d. 18 Oct 1838 Washington Co., VA.

5. Lydia Bentley b. ca 1755 Frederick Co., Maryland d. 15 July 1837 Gilmer (now Fannin) Co., GA, married about 1774 Meshack Davis b. 1749 Maryland, d. 7 Oct 1853 Dial, Fannin Co., GA.

6. Patience Bentley b. abt 1760 Frederick Co., Maryland, married Peter Lewis in Rowan Co., NC.

7. Margaret Bentley b. 1765 Frederick Co., Maryland, d. ca 1829 Letcher Co., KY, married 25 Sept 1794 Lincoln Co., NC to William Yonts b. ca 1771, d 1836 Perry Co., KY.

More children may be discovered as new genealogical material becomes available.

From two Bentley brothers, Benjamin and Daniel, two distinct lines of descendants of Thomas and Hannah Bentley have evolved. The majority of Bentleys in eastern Kentucky are descendants of Daniel Bentley, while the majority of Bentleys in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee are descended from Benjamin Bentley who is also this writer’s fourth great-grandfather through his mother, Mary Lou (Bentley) Miller.




Mary Lou (Bentley) Miller

29 August 1928 - 25 August 2006


This article was written in memory of my mother, Mary Lou Bentley Miller. Mary was born 29 August 1928 in Caldwell County, North Carolina, a daughter of Noah Carolina Bentley and his wife Ellen Lydia Rupard Bentley. On Christmas Day 25 December 1946, she married James Woodrow Miller, Sr., of Caldwell County, in the parsonage of Poovey’s Grove Baptist Church located south of the town of Granite Falls, NC. Mary and Woodrow became the parents of three children: James W. Miller, Jr. (the writer of this article), born in Caldwell County 1 September, 1951; Cathy Ann Miller, born in Caldwell County 23 January 1955; and Marsha Ellen Miller, born in Caldwell County, 18 July 1955. Woodrow died 21 January 1981 and was buried in Sunset Hills cemetery a short distance from the Miller home. Mary continued to live at the home place after her husband’s death, never remarrying. Mary passed away at home on 25 August 2006, surrounded by her children, after a lengthy bout with Alzheimer’s disease of several years. Her son, James, now lives at the Miller home.

Mary was descended from Thomas and Hannah Bentley as follows:

Thomas and Hannah (maiden name unknown) Bentley.

Benjamin and Jane (Holman?) Bentley

Moses and Mary (Campbell?) Bentley

Moses and Caroline Ann (Sloop) Bentley, Jr.

Thomas H. and Margaret (Green) Bentley

Noah Carolina and Ellen Lydia (Rupard) Bentley

Mary Lou Bentley

Mary B. Miller

Mary Lou Bentley Miller, 77, of Clover Church Road, Granite Falls, passed away Friday, Aug. 25, 2006, at the Miller family home after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease.

She was born Aug. 29, 1928, in Caldwell County, the daughter of the late Noah Carolina Bentley and Ellen Lydia Rupard Bentley.

Mrs. Miller was a retired employee of Shuford Mills in Granite Falls and a member of Sunrise Baptist Church in Hudson. She married James Woodrow Miller Sr. on Dec. 25, 1946, in Caldwell County. Her husband of 35 years preceded her in death on Jan. 21, 1981.

Mrs. Miller is survived by her son, James W. Miller Jr., and a special friend and caregiver, Michael Lein, both of the home; two daughters, Cathy Ann Miller-Gallashaw and husband, Greg, and Marsha Ellen Miller Rezapour, both of Monroe, Ga.; a grandson, James W. “Clovis” Miller III of Hickory; and two granddaughters, Jasmine Eileen Rezapour and Parisa Lynn Rezapour, both of Charlotte. Both Mrs. Miller and her husband always made loving sacrifices for their children, for which their children will always be thankful.

In addition to her parents and her husband, she was preceded in death by two brothers, Dewey Allison Bentley of Hudson and James Thomas Bentley of Granite Falls; and two sisters, Lillie Mae Bentley and Rose Belle Clark, both of Sawmills.

Services were conducted Sunday, Aug. 27, 2006, at 3 p.m. at Mackie-High Funeral Home Chapel, with the the Rev. Edd Warren officiating. Burial followed at Sunset Hills Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, 902 Kirkwood St., NW, Lenoir, N.C. 28645.

Mackie-High Funeral Home in Granite Falls were in charge of the arrangements.