This week on #52Ancestors celebrates Valentine’s day! Hmm – Searching for Freelove sounds like something from the 60’s and the Hippie movement! However, this week, I actually found an ancestor whose name is Freelove Cole – Freelove Mason Cole Thomas to be exact!
Freelove was my fifth Great-grandmother! Freelove Mason Cole was born on Christmas Eve, December 24 of 1773 in Ulster, Ulster, New York – then the Colony of New York in British Colonial America. This was before the American Revolutionary War. As a matter of fact, Freelove was the daughter of Captain Joseph Cole, III, who fought in the Battle of King’s Mountain in the Revolutionary War. He was born in 1750 and died in 1826 so we know he survived the war.
Capt. Joseph Cole III married Remember Cole – another unusual name – “Remember” – not easy to forget that name (sorry for the pun!). Remember’s maiden name was also Cole as she was the daughter of Israel Cole and Remember Burgess ( so that is where the name “Remember” came from!). Capt. Joseph Cole III was the son of Joseph Cole Jr and Freelove Mason. Now we know where the name “Freelove” came from also! More on these ancestors from the Massachusetts Colony later.
Back to Freelove Mason Cole, my fifth great-grandmother, who was born in Ulster County, New York Colony. Her mother, Remember Cole was born in 1751 but died in 1776 at about age 25. Her father remarried twice after Remember’s death and he lived to 1826. Freelove married Thomas Thomas – his actual name was Thomas Jefferson Thomas– on 5 April of 1791 in Washington County, Virginia (I love all these names!). At the time of marriage, Freelove was 17 and Thomas was 24. Thomas Thomas was born December 6, 1766 in Southampton County, Virginia and was the son of John Thomas and Mary Robinette.
John Thomas left a will leaving land on the south fork of the Holston River in Virginia to his sons Thomas and Abijah. At this time, the land was in Washington County but part of this county and Wythe County became Smyth County in 1832. Also, in 1821, John Thomas granted a “bargain Sale” of land for one dollar to Thomas Thomas that was a second parcel of land on the south and north sides of the Holston River containing 315 acres. This was land that John Thomas received as bounty land from the Commonwealth of Virginia and he sold it cheaply to his son ” in consideration of the natural love & affection” which he had for Thomas.
Freelove’s father, Joseph Cole, was a pioneer settler on Sinclair’s Bottom in Washington (now Smyth) County. There is a deed from Joseph Cole (Freelove’s father) to Thomas Thomas, dated January 16, 1782, and recorded in the Clerk’s Office of Washington County for 150 pounds of current money, conveyed a tract of land described as follows: ” One certain tract or parcel of land containing 400 acres, be the same more or less, being the same that the said Joseph Cole purchased of Henry Bowen, being and lying in Washington County on the waters of the South Fork of Holston River.” This part of Washington County became Smyth County in 1832. This accumulation of so much land seems to be why the Thomas Thomas family came to settle in Smyth County of southwest Virginia coming from Southampton County in southeast Virginia.
The Thomas family was closely associated with the founding of the town of Marion in Smyth County (Presently the city of Marion). When Smyth County was being formed, there was a controversy over choosing a county seat. According to Smyth County History ( p. 78), “This commission spent a night with Mr. Thomas Thomas, on the South Fork (of the Holston River), where a discussion arose concerning a name for the new county seat. Mrs. Freelove Cole Thomas, their hostess, opined that it would be fitting to name it in honor of Gen. Francis Marion, which was done.” Now that is interesting that one of my ancestors actually named a town that became the county seat of Smyth County, Virginia! General Francis Marion served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and in the French and Indian Wars. He was known as the “Swamp Fox” because of his style of warfare.
Freelove and Thomas Thomas had 10 known children and their daughter, Mary Polly Thomas, married William Porter in 1819. Mary Polly Thomas Porter, known as Aunt Polly, lived to be 97 years of age. She and William Porter are my fourth great-grandparents. Other children of Thomas and Freelove included Remember Ann , Martha , Joseph , John, James, Anna, David, Sarah and Abijah. William Porter and Mary Polly Thomas had four known children, one of whom was Susannah J Porter, my third great-grandmother. Susannah married Thompson B James and they were parents of my second great-grandmother, Mary Ann James Ashlin. (See blog March 2018-“Portrait of a Strong Woman” for Susannah’s story)
One of the sons of Thomas Thomas and Freelove Cole was Abijah Thomas, named after Thomas’ brother, who was quite interesting and was named as a “man of rare vision and enterprise” in the Smyth County History. See next week’s blog for his story and pictures! Abijah was the youngest son and was born on the South Fork in the same house in which Mrs. Freelove Cole Thomas gave Marion its name. Abijah built a large octagonal house that still stands on a beautiful location near Thomas’ Bridge and he died there on December 1, 1876.
Thomas Jefferson Thomas died on 22 May of 1838 in Adwolfe, Smyth County, Virginia at the age of 71. According to the 1840 census, Thomas owned about 14 slaves at that time. His wife, Freelove Cole Thomas died ten years late on 22 March 1848. They were buried side by side in the Thomas Cemetery in Marion, Smyth County.
Ancestry.com. Smyth County, history and traditions [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry,com Operations Inc, 2005; pages; 78, 181, 320-322. Original data: Wilson, Goodridge, Smyth County, history and traditions. Kingsport, Tenn: Kingsport Press, 1932.
Washington County, Virginia, Deed Book No. 1, page 239.
Find A Grave; Findagrave.com; Memorials 59080417, Thomas Thomas and 59080548,
Freelove Cole Thomas.Thomas, Freelove, Dest. March 22, 1848; listed in A New List of the Surviving Members of the St. Clair’s Bottom Church, April 9, 1831.
Relationship Document of Thomas Thomas to his father, South Fork of the Holstonn River by John Thomas, Washington County, Virginia, Deed Book No. 7, Pages 157-158.
United States Federal Census; Year: 1830; Census Place: Washington County, Virginia; Series: M19; Roll: 200; Page: 292; FHL Film: 0029679.
United States Federal Census; Year: 1840; Census Place: Smyth, Virginia; Page: 408; FHL Film: 0029692.
AGBI; Genealogy of the Sampson Mason fam. Part 1; by Alverdo Hayward Mason; East Braintree, MS, 1902 (V. 1): 47,94.
Yates Publishing; U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA; Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2004
Annals of Southwest Virginia; 1769-1800 for Thomas; Ancestry.com