Nielsen Hayden genealogy

Timothy Perkins

Male Bef 1736 - 1782  (> 46 years)


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  • Name Timothy Perkins  [1
    Born Bef 27 Jun 1736  [2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Baptised 27 Jun 1736  New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Died Aug 1782  Wilkes County, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Alternate death Aft 1782  [2
    Person ID I9675  Ancestry of PNH, TNH, and others
    Last Modified 25 May 2020 

    Father Joseph Perkins,   b. 18 Sep 1701, New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1776  (Age 74 years) 
    Mother Phebe Moulthrop,   b. 15 Oct 1711, East Haven, New Haven, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1776  (Age 64 years) 
    Married 23 Feb 1729  First Congregational Church, New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Notes 
    • They were married by Capt. John Riggs, justice of the peace.
    Family ID F17053  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Miriam Sperry,   b. 19 Feb 1743, Cheshire, New Haven, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between 1783 and 1784, Old Fields, Ashe, North Carolina Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years) 
    Married Abt 1764  New Haven County, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Children 
    +1. Jabez Perkins,   b. 6 Nov 1766, New Haven, New Haven, Connecticut Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Between Jan 1836 and Feb 1836, Whitley County, Kentucky Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 69 years)
    Last Modified 23 May 2020 
    Family ID F5527  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • He has to have left Connecticut before 1776, because in that year the will of his father-in-law Abel Sperry refers with evident bitterness to the removal of his daughters Miriam and Lois, "contrary to my desire," to North Carolina.

      He and his brother Joseph may have been the Timothy and Joseph Perkins who were Loyalist soldiers in South Carolina in 1781-82.

      "By all accounts, probably between 1771 and 1773, Timothy Perkins, along with his wife and children, his brother, Joseph, other relatives and in-laws, and, perhaps, even his parents, left Connecticut and settled in northwestern North Carolina in probably what was then either Rowan or Surry County. Their migration is confirmed by the will of Abel Sperry, Sr., father of Miriam Sperry Perkins, made January 29, 1776, in which he states that, 'my Second son namely Wm Sperry and two of my Daughters Namely Merriam Perkins the wife of Timothy Perkins & namely Lois Sperry has made a remove to North Carolina contrary to my desire'. The reason that they moved is not definitely known; however, it has been suggested that it was a consequence of the general political ferment and disorder prevalent in New England in the decade preceding the Revolutionary War. Within this context, there is strong evidence that the Perkins brothers were dedicated loyalists, i.e., Tories. Moreover, it is further suggested that a Whig faction sympathetic to rebellion became politically ascendant in Connecticut in the late 1760s and persecuted those who expressed loyalty to the Crown. However, the southern colonies were less rebellious and, therefore, would have likely been attractive to those having loyalist sentiments. In addition, there had been some migration, including other members of the extended Perkins family, southward from New England to Delaware and the Valley of Virginia throughout the eighteenth century. Although the story has never been adequately substantiated, it has also been reported that the Perkins brothers had been tax collectors in New England, which, then as now, would have made them unpopular and, perhaps, motivated them to leave the community to escape political persecution and social condemnation." [David R. Evans, citation details below]

      "According to Wilkes Co, NC, Deed Book 1, 1778-1783, Timothy Perkins received grant no.55 on Gap Creek in the area that would become Ashe Co., NC. His brother-in-law, William Sperry, received grant no.127 in the Old Fields." [Ancestry of Jabez Perkins, 1766-1836, by Steven C. Perkins, citation details below]

      "J. D. Perkins, Esq., an attorney at Kendrick, Va., in a letter to his brother, L. N. Perkins, at Boone, N. C., of date December 1, 1913, says that his ancestors Joseph and Timothy Perkins were tax gatherers under the colonial government of Massachusetts about the commencement of the Revolutionary War, but removed to Old Fields, Ashe county on account of political persecution. They remained loyal to the King during the whole of the Revolutionary War, and Timothy was killed somewhere in Ashe in a Tory skirmish. Timothy left several sons and one daughter, Lucy, J. D. Perkins' great grandmother, who married a man named Young. Joseph also left sons and daughters. 'I have forgotten the names of most of our great grand uncles,' wrote J. D. Perkins in the letter above mentioned, 'but I remember to have heard our mother tell about seeing "Granny Skritch," a sister to our great-great-grandfather, and who was very old at that time, and living with one of her Perkins relatives up on Little Wilson. Our mother was then quite small and the old lady (Granny Skritch) was very old and confined to her bed; but our mother was impressed with Granny Skritch's loyalty, even then, to King George, and the manner in which she abused the Patriot soldiers in her talk.'" [History of Western North Carolina by John Preston Arthur. Raleigh, North Carolina: Edwards and Broughton, 1914. Chapter V.]

      Regarding the above, as David R. Evans notes (citation details below), the Perkins brothers were from Connecticut, not Massachusetts, and Ashe County, NC, didn't exist at the time of the Revolution, but these are minor lapses of generational memory. "Granny Skritch" was probably Timothy Perkins's sister Charity, b. 1756 in New Haven, who married a man named Screech.

      From A Factual History of Early Ashe County, North Carolina -- Its People, Places and Events by Eleanor Baker Reeves (West Jefferson, North Carolina, 1986):

      Why did they leave Connecticut? I found the following by Dow Perkins in the Wilkes Co library:

      "As one considers the Connecticut genealogy and realizes New Haven was one of the oldest and most enlightened areas of this land before the revolution, one wonders why families that had been in the New Haven area for over 100 years should migrate to the still wilderness of S. W. Virginia and North Carolina. There is a possible explanation in the history of Connecticut.

      "New Haven was the mother town of the New Haven colony, which was early independent of the Colony of Connecticut, but consolidated into the Connecticut Colony when John Winthrop Jr became governor of it. The Congregational Church (Puritan) was made the 'State Church'. Its members were the leaders and political power in the colony. As its population increased, the old problem of the 'haves' and 'have nots' caused a split in the church between the conservatives (loyalists and tories) and radicals (Whigs) in increasing social and political conflict. In 1776 [sic - 1766] the Whigs defeated the Tories politically, and the Whigs instituted a persecution of the Tories. The history of the Colony records that some 2000 to 2500 paid dearly for their loyalty to the King. This undoubtedly accounts for the disappearance of so many ancient families from Connecticut soon after 1766, an exodus that continued long after the Revolution, directly westward and down the Ohio River, and southwest down the 'Wilderness Road' from the 'Great Road of Virginia' to Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky.

      "Why these Perkins went to S. W. Va and western North Carolina is also probably explained by the fact that kin folk had earlier migrated to Delaware and then to the Valley of Virginia ... Thus when Timothy and Joseph left Connecticut they probably took the course of joining kinsmen in these areas, especially as at that time, 1769-1773 this area was loyalist and tory in sympathy."

      The [John Preston] Arthur story that they were tax collectors in New England and had to leave has not been confirmed. But they were historic tories, very dedicated. There is an undertone of bitterness from which I conclude they probably left after the 1766 defeat. Miriam's father Abel Sperry bitterly says in his will in Jan. 1766 [sic - 1776] that his daughter had gone to North Carolina against his wishes.

      Further from David R. Evans (citation details below):

      The death of Timothy Perkins, Sr., is a particularly vexing question for historians of this family. In particular, it has been asserted by Mr. Dow Perkins and others that Timothy Perkins, Sr., survived to a great age, dying in 1834, after which he was reportedly buried with his second (and much younger) wife, Ann Sturgill Perkins, in the "Sturgill Cemetery" (also known as the "Zion Hill Baptist Church Cemetery"). Moreover, it is further reported that Ann was born in 1794 or 1795, that they married about 1812 and had one daughter, Lydia, and that Ann died about 1813. (Nothing specific seems to be known about the daughter beyond that she was said to have married someone named Price.) Furthermore, there are at least two Sturgill Cemeteries proposed as burial places for the couple, viz., along Helton Creek about one mile north of the village of Sturgills in Ashe County, North Carolina, and about two miles south of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, just over the border in Alleghany County, North Carolina, near the New River. (Alleghany County was formed from eastern Ashe County in 1859.) Indeed, it seems that a stone has been recently erected in "Old Sturgill Cemetery" in Alleghany County which, along with others, explicitly includes the name of Ann Sturgill Perkins. Even so, the preponderance of documentary and circumstantial evidence indicates that none of this is correct. In particular, George Morris was appointed as guardian for Jabez Perkins, minor son of Timothy, Sr., in Wilkes County in either 1783 or 1784 and, according to the common law prevailing at the time, this is an almost certain indication that Jabez Perkins was an "orphan", i.e., a minor whose father was deceased, regardless of whether his mother was living or not. (In addition, it has been asserted that Miriam Sperry Perkins had died in 1777 in childbirth; however, this is also a debatable proposition and, in any case, is of little significance here.) Furthermore, in her book, Ms. Reeves has published a particularly sound analysis put forward by Judge Paul M. Perkins, who also cites original manuscripts from the Eller Collection as well as family tradition in support of the death of Timothy Perkins, Sr., in a skirmish during the Revolutionary War. In contrast, it appears that the primary documentary evidence in support of the survival of Timothy Perkins, Sr., into the nineteenth century comes from the diary of Dr. Elisha Mitchell, a geologist who surveyed western North Carolina in 1827 and 1828. The diary is in the form of a series of letters and was published as a monograph with footnotes in 1905. The first mention of Timothy Perkins came in the entry for July 11, 1828, in which it was stated that he was living on Helton's Creek with "an army of maidens". In addition, an associated footnote states, "Ancestor of a number of Perkinses on Helton Creek. All wealthy." It appears that later researchers have, perhaps, misinterpreted this footnote as an indication that the Timothy Perkins mentioned in the diary was Timothy, Sr. However, the footnote was likely added to the text at the time of publication of the diary, that is to say, more than seventy-five years after its composition and hardly qualifies as convincing evidence that Timothy Perkins, Sr., was still alive at the time of Mitchell's tour. Furthermore, Timothy Perkins, Sr., settled in the Old Fields, which lies a considerable distance from Helton Creek. Since, he is believed to have had significant land holdings in this locality, of which there is no evidence that he ever sold, it seems improbable, although not impossible, that he would have been living on Helton Creek. Other younger members of the Perkins family were subsequently also mentioned in the diary; in particular Stephen Perkins, whose grandfather, Dr. Mitchell said, came from Connecticut. Clearly, this was a reference to Timothy, Sr., since his brother Joseph had no known grandsons named Stephen. Nevertheless, the context does not explicitly indicate that either of them were then still living. Of course, there can be no doubt that Dr. Mitchell actually met Timothy, William, and Stephen Perkins when he was traveling in the vicinity of Helton Creek; however, it is likely that these men were the sons and grandson, respectively, of Timothy, Sr. All things considered, it seems most plausible that Timothy Perkins, Sr., was a casualty of the American Revolution and was killed in Wilkes County in the summer of 1782 fighting for King and country.

  • Sources 
    1. [S291] Descendants of Jabez Perkins and Nancy Ann Unkn, by Steven C. Perkins.

    2. [S4170] Ancestry of Jabez Perkins, 1766-1836, of New Haven, CT., Ashe/Wilkes Co., NC, Grayson Co., VA, Bureau/Putnam Co., IL, and Knox/Whitley Co., KY. by Steven C. Perkins. 1989-2000.

    3. [S4176] Evans Family Web Page by David R. Evans. 2016.

    4. [S4211] Vital Records of New Haven 1649-1850. Part 1. Hartford, Connecticut: The Connecticut Society of the Ordeer of the Founders and Patriots of America, 1917.

    5. [S4213] The Descendants of Edward Perkins of New Haven, Conn. by Caroline Erickson Perkins. Rochester, New York: 1914.

    6. [S5661] English Origin of Six Early Colonists by the Name of Perkins by Paula Perkins Mortensen. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1998., date only.