Surprise! While reading through records in Chatham County, North Carolina in an attempt to find out more about the Henderson family, I stumbled across a deed dated 18 Feb 1801 between John Stewart and wife Rhoda Powe, “as was formerly, but now Rhoda Stewart,” from Montgomery County, North Carolina to William Brantley Junior of Chatham County, North Carolina, 68 acres on Piggs Branch of Bear Creek.
John Stewart married first Rachel Morgan, daughter of Charles Morgan who died about 1787 in Chatham County. The date of this John and Rhoda deed can now place Rachel’s death before Feb 1801.
Census information on John has not really been that helpful to me as it shows John with multiple males and females in his household of the same age range as him and therefore, I cannot tell who the younger males and females belong to. However, without a doubt, I now know that the 1810 Census shows John and Rhoda. That Census also listed one male under the age of 10. Could John and Rhoda have had a child? If Rhoda is who I think she is, it is highly doubtful she had a child between 1801 and 1810.
I have been researching James Stewart Sr who died about 1775 in Chatham County, North Carolina and even though it makes sense that John is probably a grandson of James Stewart Sr who died about 1775 in Chatham County, I cannot connect these two men together with a paper trail. James Sr’s will list 15 children, 6 of them being males that would pass on the Stewart surname. Charles and Spencer, sons of James Sr, are the only two that left wills in Chatham County naming all their heirs so I can rule these two men out as Charles had eight girls and Spencer had only one son, Samuel. That leaves John, James Jr, Joseph, and William. The most information can be found on John and James Jr as they were the executors of the will of James Sr. Unfortunately, all that information pertains to the estate of James Sr and provides no real insight into the life of John or James Jr.
Further reading of deeds found four possible children of James Jr; Jeptha, James III, Thomas (of Anson County), and Mary Ann Stewart who married Benjamin Haygood, though I have not found a paper trail yet to connect Mary Ann to James Jr.
In 1801, Jeptha and James Stewart sold to Roderick Cotton land that belonged to their father, James Stewart.
In 1807, Jeptha Stewart of Georgia sold to William Foshee of Chatham County a 1/2-acre tract of land in the town of Hillsborough. This has to be James Stewart Jr as James Sr died in 1775 and Jeptha is not named in the will of James Sr.
In 1802, Thomas Stewart of Anson County sold to Roderick Cotton, yes, the same man who bought land from Jeptha and James III, land that belonged to his father, James Stewart.
I did find a deed that might offer more clues on John (married Rachel Morgan). John witnessed a deed between Samuel Stuart [Stewart] and Charles Morgan Sr, his father-in-law, dated 31 Jul 1784. Since John stated in his Revolutionary War pension file that he served two tours in the war, one in 1780 and one in 1781, and about three years later, 1784, migrated to Montgomery County, North Carolina with his family.
So, the 1784 deed date is right before John left Chatham County. The deed was for 150 acres of land on the Riverbank – no neighbors or river or creek names listed. Samuel must have been 21 years or older to own land. This 1784 date puts his year of birth prior to 1763, about the same age as John who was born 1762. So, it is possible that John and Samuel are brothers, both the grandsons of James Stewart Sr.
There are multiple deeds from and to Samuel Stewart [Stuart] for land across Chatham County. Some of the deeds call Samuel a weaver, others list no occupation at all. The land itself was located far and wide, from the western part of the county, near Rocky River, to an area settled by Quakers in what is now Alamance County, on Pine Hill Branch, waters of Cane Creek, to the eastern part of Chatham near Morgan’s Creek. The deeds are also signed in different ways. Due to this, I have come to think there were probably multiple, at least 4, Samuel Stewart’s [Stuart] in Chatham County and they have been confused with one another.
Rhoda owned land on Piggs Branch, a branch of Bear Creek in Chatham County. We know that because she and John sold that land to William Brantley Junior in 1801. I do not know how John knew Rhoda nor how they met or why they married. I have found nothing further on the life Rhoda lived in Montgomery County.
When I first found the Rhoda deed, I began searching for Rhoda Powe – as that is how her name is listed in the deed. What is amazing, is I actually found a Rhodisee Powe in the will of Charles Powell Sr dated 1776. But the more I dug, the more I found Wilkerson’s Creek associated with the Powell family and Rhoda’s land was on Piggs Branch, the waters of Bear Creek. I did find Stephen Powell who had land on Bear Creek, and he is shown on the above map, however, I am not able to find any connection to him and Rhoda or to him and the family of Charles Powell.
Digging deeper into the records, I discovered that Rhoda's name is actually Poe. It is misspelled on the deed. Prior to being married to John, Rhoda was married to Simon Poe. In his will, dated 1793, Simon leaves to Rhoda the land on Piggs Branch where she lived during her widow hood! Meaning she was married prior to being married to Simon Poe.
Rhoda Marsh had a 1789 land grant for 200 acres on both sides of Piggs Branch joining Absalom Bryant’s land.
On 15 Jan 1791, Rhoda sold to John McCausland (probably McCaslin)for 28 pounds, 120 acres on the north side of Piggs Branch.
While I was not able to find the actual Newspaper, I did find a transcribed Newspaper extraction 1704-1930 on Ancestry showing that Rhoda Marsh married Simon Poe on 3 Oct 1792 in North Carolina.
Rhoda looks to have died in Montgomery County, North Carolina prior to 1830. John is found on the 1830 Census living with a female, age 15-20, probably a grandchild. He left for McNairy, Tennessee with his family around 1835 and died there in 1844.