The Tate Family
By Steven R. Butler, Ph.D.
I am a Tate family descendant by virtue of my father, Raymond Joe Butler, being the son Alice May Tate Butler, who was a daughter of Sarah West Tate and Isaac H. Tate, who was a son of Judge Harrison Tate, who was born in Greenville County, South Carolina in 1814, and "raised an orphan, his parents having [died] in his childhood" according to a notation in an old family Bible. (See below.)
Thanks to DNA matching, I have been able to ascertain that the great-grandfather of Harrison Tate was Thomas Tate of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Unfortunately, determining the identity of Harrison Tate's father and grandfather has been more difficult, as explained in the following sections.
The Tate fmmily from which I am apparently descended came from either England or Scotland and first settled in Virginia and then North and South Carolina, where Harrison Tate was born. From there, he went to live in Georgia and then a little later in Alabama, where my great-grandfather, Isaac Tate, was born. In 1888, my great-grandfather brought his family to Texas from Alabama. They lived awhile at various places in both East and West Texas before finally settling in Dallas in 1890. All but one of Isaac Tate's siblings settled in East Texas.
Thomas Tate, a son of William and Sarah Tate of Virginia, was almost certainly Harrison Tate's great-grandfather. Thomas was born about 1725 in Prince George County, Virginia. As a child, he migrated with his parents to Lunenburg County, Virginia, where between 1750 and 1752, he was listed as a tithable in Cumberland Parish. (See Landon Bell's Sunlight on the Southside, Lists of Tithes, Lunenburg County, Virginia 1748-1783, pp. 67, 109, and 138.)
He was reportedly married about 1750 to a woman named Elizabeth Hubbard. Together, they had the following named children:
- William Tate, born about 1750; in 1804, he was living on the Enoree River in South Carolina.
- John Tate, born about 1751
- Susannah, born about 1753 md. Rev. Joseph Camp
- Thomas Tate, Jr., born1755; married Fannie (maiden name unknown)
- Mary Tate, born about 1757; married Moses Kemp
- James Tate, born 1760, married Mary McDaniel
- Nathaniel Tate, born about 1762
- Henry Tate, born about 1764
The following is a list of land transactions involving Thomas Tate:
- On October 2, 1752, Thomas Tate of Cumberland Parish, Lunenburg County, Virginia sold 50 acres of land in that same county and parish, on Little Creek, to Thomas Wilkins, for 25 Pounds, current money of Virginia. (See Lunenburg County, Virginia Deed Book 3, pp.65-7.
- On June 6, 1758, Thomas Tate purchased 340 acres of land in Lunenburg County, Virginia, on Bluestone Creek, from Daniel Williams of Granville County, North Carolina, for 30 Pounds and 10 Shillings, current money of Virginia. (See Lunenburg County, Virginia Deed Book 5, pp.239-42.)
- On Oct. 3, 1758 Thomas and wife, Elizabeth, sold 100 acres to David Bullock, adjacent to Thomas Wilkins, for Forty Pounds, current money. (See Lunenburg County, Virginia Deed Book 5, pp.349-50.)
- On October, 13, 1763, Thomas Tate, of Granville County, North Carolina, sold 340 acres of land in Lunenburg County, Virginia, on Bluestone Creek, to Benjamin Pulliam of Lunenburg County, for 65 Pounds current money of Virginia. (See Lunenburg County, Virginia Deed Book 9, pp.279-81.)
- On November, 9, 1763, Benjamin Cook and wife, Mary, sold Thomas Tate two tracts of land in Granville County, on both sides of Island Creek, a total of 304 acres, for 150 Pounds Provincial Currency. (See Granville County, North Carolina Deed Book G, pp.277-8.)
- In April 1767n Thomas Tate of Johnston County, North Carolina purchased 134 acres from Charles Thompson. (See Johnston County, North Carolina Deed Book E-1, p.191.
- On January 14, 1770, Thomas Tate and wife, Elizabeth, of Johnston County, North Carolina, sold their land in Granville County, North Carolina, to John Oliver of Granville County. (See Granville County, North Carolina Deed Book I, pp.48-9.)
Although there seems to be no record of Thomas Tate selling his land in Johnston County, nor buying any property anywhere else, sometime between 1770 and 1781 he and his wife moved to either York County or Union County, South Carolina, where he somehow acquired several hundreds of acres of land in either place. He died on July 17, 1781 at the age of about fifty-six, cause unknown. In the will that he reportedly wrote eight days earlier, he purportedly left his entire estate to his wife, to be divided among his children, except for son John Tate (with whom it seems he had had a falling out), upon his (Thomas') widow's death or remarriage. Thomas Tate's wife and son-in-law, Moses Camp (or Kemp) were reportedly named executors. Unfortunately, his will was never admitted for record and sometime between the time it was written and 1804, it was misplaced or destroyed, either by accident or purposely. (See next section, "The Strange Story of Thomas Tate's Will.")
On June 27, 1784, the widow Tate and Moses Camp (or Kemp) held an estate sale at which Thomas Tate's six slaves were sold. Moses Camp (or Kemp) paid 52 Pounds and 5 Shillings for "Bet and her child," and the widow paid 25 Pounds and 10 Shillings for "Fillis and her child." A man named Joseph Bradley gave 7 Pounds for "a negro boy named Peter," who must have been very young to fetch such a small sum, and Thomas Tate's son-in-law, the Reverend Joseph Camp, paid 22 Pounds for "a negro boy named David."
The remainder of Thomas Tate's personal property included some livestock, tools and farm implements, a gun, some housewares, and two feather beds, the latter purchased by the Widow Tate, which seems odd to me. If her husband left her all his property in his will, I can understand her selling things to raise some cash, but why did she have to pay for anything?
Another researcher (John Hawkins Napier III, author of The Tates of Pearl River) has written that Thomas Tate's estate was eventually settled by the executors (Moses Camp or Kemp and the widow, Elizabeth Tate) divided among his widow and twelve other legatees, including Peter Quinn, who "received a small payment," but I have not seen any evidence of this.
Elizabeth Tate apparently never remarried. On August 9, 1800, while residing in Greenville County, South Carolina, for the sum of $100, she sold 500 acres of land in Union County, South Carolina, on the east side of the Broad River, in two tracts (one of 300 acres and the other of 200) to her three sons James, Henry, and Nathaniel, to be "tenants in common." Presumably, this was land that she inherited from her husband in 1781. (See Union County, South Carolina Deed Book G, pp. 19-20 and also York County, South Carolina Deed Book E, pp. 468-9.)
Elizabeth Tate reportedly died on May 20, 1806, presumably somewhere in South Carolina. (The source of the above death date is unknown.) In all likelihood, she was buried beside her husband, in a grave the location of which has been lost to history.
THE STRANGE STORY OF THOMAS TATE'S WILL
Although Thomas Tate, Sr. wrote and signed a will eight days before his death of July 17, 1781, it apparently disappeared, and incredibly, it was not until April 1804, almost twenty-three years after the will was written, that Thomas' son James, together with his brothers, Nathaniel and Henry, went to court, in York District, South Carolina, in order to find out what happened to it. Apparently, their mother's advancing age is what prompted this action.
In any event, according to an affidavit filed by James Tate, a man named Peter Quinn had possession of his father's will. He (James) wanted the court to compel Quinn to produce it for the simple reason that he (James) and his brothers had "a material interest" in it.
The case was complicated not only by the fact that twenty-three years had elapsed since the demise of Thomas Tate, Sr. but also by the fact that several of witnesses who were called upon to testify in the matter resided outside York County and in some cases, quite a distance from it. Rather than try to get them altogether in the same courtroom at the same time in York County, which would almost certainly have been difficult, the court empowered a court official to travel to all these other places to gather testimony and bring it back to York County. Unfortunately, this had the effect of prolonging the case, which was not resolved until 1810.
The following is a chronology of the case:
April 16, 1804: Alexander Moore, Judge of Ordinary in York District, South Carolina, 1.) issued an order giving Denney Anderson "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd." and also to administer oaths to the witnesses, and in particular to "Elizabeth Tate, John Tate & Henry Tate," 2.) issued an order giving Thomas Farguson "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd," and in particular, to administer "the usual oath to Moses Camp." 3.) issued an order to the Sheriff of York County to compel Moses Camp and Elizabeth Tate to appear in court on the first Monday of June 1804 to give testimony, 4.) issued an order to the Sheriff of York District saying that because in 1784 or 1785, when James Tate demanded to see his father's will, Peter Quinn acknowledged that he had it in his possession but "absolutely refused to comply with James Tate's demand, to compel Peter Quinn to appear in court on the first Monday of June 1804 to be examined in the matter.
May 6, 1804: Under oath, Charles Esters stated that "about three years last past, John Tate and Peter Quinn" went to his home and during a conversation with the two men, Esters heard John Tate say "that Peter Quinn was clear of the charge of destroying sd. will [and] that he would take it upon himself, that he heard that Peter Quinn was in jail for keeping back sd. will [and] that he would take his place."
May 20, 1804: In Greenville County, South Carolina, under oath administered by Thomas Farguson, Moses Kemp (a son-in-law of Thomas Tate) testified that he was present when Peter Quinn wrote out a will for Thomas Tate, Sr., that there was no other will, that he (Moses Kemp) was one of the executors of the will, that Peter Quinn was one of the subscribing witnesses but that he (Moses Kemp) could not remember the others, that he (Most Kemp) never had the will in his possession, that he had never heard "any conclusion for sd. will to be destroyed," that he was present when Elizabeth Tate (Thomas Tate's widow) gave her late husband's papers to Joseph Camp for safekeeping, that Joseph Camp had the will in his possession, that Thomas Tate lived for "four or five days" after the will was written and signed, and that he did not know of "any man named Miles" being present when the will was written.
May 23, 1804: In Spartanburg County, South Carolina, under oath administered by Justice of the Peace Denney Anderson, Henry Tate (son of Thomas Tate) testified that "about nine or ten years ago, he asked Peter Quinn what had become of his father's will and that Quinn had "informed him that the said will was washed up in his coat pocket." Henry Tate also said that he would likewise be interested in knowing more about his father's will.
On the same day and in the same county, John Tate (son of Thomas Tate) testified under oath that "some time after the Decease of Thomas Tate, that he was shown an instrument of wrighting by Joseph Camp, as being the will of the sd. Thomas Tate Deceased, and that the said will, according to the best of his recollection, left to Elizabeth Tate, wife of sd. Thomas Tate Dsd., All the real & personal estate during her life or widowhood & that the estate was to be equally Devided between all his children, As the[y[ come of age, except the sd. John Tate, who was cut off with five pounds of An old account which was sd. to be in his own hands, and that he never new Peter Quinn in Possession of said will at any time, And that At a certain time in conversation sd. will Was offered to be given up to John Tate who Refused to take it, and Joseph Camp sd. he supposed he must give it up to Brother Quin but that he never saw sd. will given up To any person."
Again, on the same day and in the same county, Elizabeth Tate testified under oath that she and her son-in-law Joseph Camp were executors of her late husband's will, that she gave Joseph Camp her husband's papers for safekeeping "till called for by them," that no one ever called for the papers, and that the last time she saw the will, Camp had it. She said further that she and Camp went to the Ordinary's office "to be Informed the said will was a good will and that after being told that it was, "Joseph Camp & others Prevailed upon her, not to prove said will And that it was about one year after the Decease of the sd. Thomas Tate, before she went with sd. will to the Ordinary & that The said will was made by Thomas Tate about eight days before his Decease on July 17, 1781, that her husband was "in his proper reason" when he made it, and that she never knew that Peter Quinn had it after her husband signed it.
June 4, 1804: In York County, Benjamin Wilkins testified under oath in front of Judge Moore, that sometime in 1783, John Tate, son of Thomas Tate, showed him (Wilkins) "an instrument of writing which he Tate said was the Will of his father Thomas Tate" and that John Tate read it aloud to him, and that he recollected that John Tate was left with only five pounds "or something near that sum," and that only he and John Tate were present when this conversation took place. On the same date and in the same place a man named Joseph Collins swore that Moses Camp showed him the will of Thomas Tate about twenty years ago, that he read it, but that he did not recollect "the particulars."
January 9, 1805: Alexander Moore, Judge of Ordinary in York District, South Carolina, 1.) issued an order giving Pleasant Hudson "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd." and also to administer oaths to the witnesses, and in particular to Mary Kemp (daughter of Thomas Tate) and Solomon Kemp (son of Mary Kemp). On this same day, Judge Moore gave the same authority to Denney Anderson, with particular reference to Thomas Miles, Jr., widow Elizabeth Miles, and a man named Pennywell Wood.
January 28, 1805: In Greenville County, South Carolina, under oath administered by Pleasant Hudson, Solomon Kemp (son of Mary Kemp), testified that "two or three weeks" after Thomas Tate died, he saw and read the will that said that Elizabeth Tate was heir to all her husband's property and that upon her death or the end of her widowhood, all of her late husband's property was to be equally divided among his children, except for John Tate. Kemp also stated that his father, Moses Kemp, and Elizabeth Tate were named as executors of the will. He said further that he had not seen the will prior to that time and knew it to be his grandfather's because he was told it was and also by seeing Thomas Tate's signature on it. When asked, he said he did not know of being in the possession of Peter Quinn.
On this same date and in the same county, Mary Kemp testified under oath that she was present when her father's will was written by Peter Quinn and repeated what her son had said, namely that her mother, Elizabeth Tate, was heir to all of her father, Thomas Tate's, property and that upon her mother's death or the end of her widowhood, all of Thomas Tate's property was to be equally divided among his children, except for John Tate. Mary added that when the will was being written, she heard her father say "that he wanted James Tate to have the land over the creek and Nathaniel Tate to have the land down the creek and Henry Tate to have the land where he then lived, at the Death or Marriage of there mother." She also testified that she never knew Peter Quinn to have the will or to say that he had it. When asked if she knew whether or not the details she related were written into the will, she said she wasn't sure, only that she heard her father say those words. Mary said too that her mother was in possession of the will after it was written. When asked if she saw her father sign the will, she replied that she couldn't remember, and said too, when asked if she had heard it read aloud, that she didn't think so. In conclusion, she stated that she thought her father was in his "proper senses" when he dictated the will.
January 30, 1805: On this date in Spartanburg District, Elizabeth Tate, widow of Thomas Tate, was questioned again about her late husband's will. Although her testimony, under oath administered by Denney Anderson, was nearly identical to the statements she had made some months earlier, there were a few differences. First of all, she identified the Ordinary to which she had take the will for verification that it was a good will as Henry Hudson. Secondly and more importantly, she admitted that she and Joseph Camp "broke the Letters of Administration of James Tate & that upon thire return home the[y] came to the [home] of James Tate for some papers & property of the sd. Thomas Tate, Deceased, And that he gave them all up as sd. Camp acknowledged to before her, And that at the same time, when the said Letters of Administration were broke, the said Jas. Tate complained to the ordinary that he believed that there Was a Will of Thomas Tate, Deceased which he wished to be produced & that the ordinary ordered her the sd. E. Tate to send him the sd. will, which she never Did and that The reason was that she was informed by Moses Camp that said will was washed up accidentally in Peter Quins coat Pocket." She added that she remembered that the will called for her to inherit all of her late husband's property, but that upon her death or remarriage, it to be divided between all his children except John Tate and that James Tate was to "have the land on the upper side of Buffalow Creek & that Henry Tate was to have the Part where the sd. Thomas Tate then lived & that Nathaniel Tate's part to be on the same side of the creek as Henry Tate's part, near or at the mouth of sd. creek."
February 15, 1805: Alexander Moore, Judge of Ordinary in York District, South Carolina, 1.) issued an order giving James McMaster "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd." and also to administer oaths to the witnesses, and in particular to John McDonald, "respecting the validity or existence of said will."
March 20, 1805: At Newberry District, South Carolina, under oath administered by James McMaster, John McDonald was questioned by James Tate, confirming that he was present when James Tate demanded his father's will from Joseph Camp. McDonald said further that he remembered that Joseph Camp said he gave the will to Peter Quinn, who was also present at the time the demand was made, and that when James Tate demanded that Quinn give him the will, Quinn refused. In conclusion, McDonald said he never knew James Tate to have the will.
April 15, 1805: Alexander Moore, Judge of Ordinary in York District, South Carolina, 1.) issued an order giving Benjamin Wharton "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd." and also to administer oaths to the witnesses, and in particular to James Bradley, "respecting the validity or existence of said will." On the same day, Judge Moore also issued an order giving William McCrayer[?] "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd." and also to administer oaths to the witnesses, and in particular to John Logan, "respecting the validity or existence of said will."
April 26, 1805: [State and County faded and hard to read] Under oath administered by Benjamin Wharton, James Bradley was asked what he remembered about the will of Thomas Tate. He replied, saying, "I remember that at a certain time I think about or nearly three years ago, I was at William Tates house in the Enore settlement and some person came ther and told John Tate and My self that James Tate got Peter Quin and Joseph Camp in confinement about the Destroying of Thomas Tate's will & John said he had a good Mint to gow in and relese sd. Quin from his Distress about that will for he knew him to be innosent of the Charge and if any Body had to suffer about it Let it be me refurring to him Self for he wold go and put him Self in Quins plase and tel the judge he had the will him Self and if the judge asked him what he had Done with the will his answer shold be you may judg of that as it was my Enemy allso sd. John Tate did Go into Broad River upon that session [or mission?] and went on foot and had no other Reasons[?] so he told me." Bradley also said that he never knew Peter Quinn to be in possession of the will.
May 3, 1805: At the house of Joseph Camp in Rutherford County, North Carolina, William McCrayer[?] administered the usual oath to John Logan, who answered questions about Thomas Tates will, put to him by Peter Quinn, saying "I remember at a certain time at my mill I saw John Tate have an instrument of writing which sd. John said was his Father's Will & he red the same to me but I do not remember the contents, But John said his Father had left him but a trifle and that he said John ow'd him. But John said his Father ow'd him. But John says I don't care about that. I have got the will in my own hands and I will see that it shall never rise in judgement against me & that he did not value them now." Logan said further: "I clearly understood the sd. Jno. Tate that he would Either destroy the sd. will or keep it from them that it should never come forward to answer them any purpose." When asked how John Tate came to have the will, Logan said that John Tate told him he got it "from amongst papers of [Joseph] Camp" and that no one gave it to him. Logan also said that he never heard of Peter Quinn being in possession of the will. Next, when James Tate questioned Logan, he (Logan) said he didn't remember seeing Thomas Tate's signature on the will, that he saw the will "some considerable time" after Thomas Tate's death, but it was before the sale of his estate.
September 30, 1805: Alexander Moore, Judge of Ordinary in York District, South Carolina, 1.) issued an order giving William McCrayer[?] "full power and authority to examine the several witnesses to the last Will and Testament of Thomas Tate, dec'd." and also to administer oaths to the witnesses, and in particular to Joseph Camp and Susannah Camp, "respecting the validity or existence of said will."
October 15, 1805: At the house of the Reverend Joseph Camp, Rutherford County, North Carolina, under oath administered by William McCrayer[?] Joseph Camp testified that he had no interest in the present case. Under questioning by Peter Quinn, he said that he knew nothing about the will except what Elizabeth Tate had told him, which was that her husband had made a will and she "did not take it" [for probate, presumably] because she thought it was "not fair, for it is using of John ill and myself that is hurself she mint for says she it first give me all the property and then Takes it away again and gives it to the children and I am determined said she that it never shall be proven or recorded." Camp also said he never knew of the will being in the possession of Peter Quinn or that upon being asked for it, refusing to give it up.
Under questioning by James Tate, Camp said he didn't know if Elizabeth Tate was the first person to tell him that Thomas Tate had made a will. Camp also denied that James Tate had demanded the will from him (Camp), that the reason he hadn't given it to him (James Tate) was because he (Camp) had given the will to Peter Quinn, that Quinn was present when Tate demanded the will, and that he had heard Quinn acknowledge possession of the will.
When Peter Quinn questioned Susannah Camp about whether or not her brother James Tate, and one of the McDonalds had been at her house, she said she thought that one or the other had been there some twenty years ago, but didn't think they had been there more than once.
Date Uncertain: When Rev. Joseph Camp and his wife, Susannah (daughter of Thomas Tate, deceased), were interviewed a second time in Rutherford County, North Carolina (or perhaps this was the first time?), under oath, Camp said he was neither interested nor disinterested in Thomas Tate's will, that Elizabeth Tate and Moses Camp [Kemp] had not given him the will. He admitted that James Tate with some other persons had come to his house to demand some papers of his father, and that he gave the documents to them but denied that the will was ever among the papers. He also denied that Peter Quinn was present when the demand was made. He did admit, however, that he went with Elizabeth Tate to see the Ordinary, Henry Hampton, for the purpose of breaking the administration of the will, but denied any knowledge of James Tate complaining about it. Camp said further than he never heard of the will being "washed up" in the pocket of a jacket belonging to Peter Quinn, nor did he know anything about the execution of the will. When Camp was questioned by Peter Quinn as to whether he (Camp) had seen Quinn, James Tate, and another man, named Jeremiah McDaniel, together at his house at the same time, he said that he had not. Susannah Camp also denied ever seeing James Tate, McDaniel, and Quinn at the Camp house at the same time and that she knew nothing about any demand to see or have some papers turned over to James Tate.
In a separate, undated document, Peter Quinn admitted to Judge Moore that he had written Thomas Tate's will for him.
December 1, 1806: In a short sworn statement made in York County, South Carolina, before Judge Moore, Benjamin Hambright said that "sometime in 1800 He was present at a conversation between James Tate and Joseph Camp where sd. Tate asked sd. Camp what was the reason he had not received the papers and Will of his father Thomas Tate and Camp said the reason was he had given them to Peter Quin-Camp further said it was against Quins interest to give up the Will to James Tate."
October 27. 1806: John Faucheraud Grimké, Senior Associate Judge of the State of South Carolina, in light of the proven facts of the case, issued an order to Judge Alexander Moore, commanding him to proceed against Peter Quinn and to either compel him to produce the will of Thomas Tate or confine him according to law, and also, on the fourth Monday of March next, to answer why he (Moore) had refused to proceed against Quinn even though he (Moore) had previously informed James Tate that he (Moore) had "made up your mind in favor of him and the sd. Nathaniel and Henry.
September 25, 1810: A. W. Nott, Deputy Clerk at Pinkney District issued a subpoena to Judge Alexander Moore, calling upon him to produce the examinations of Elizabeth Tate and Jeremiah McDaniel at the Court of Common Pleas for York District on the fourth Monday of October , and to "testify the Truth, according to your knowledge, in a certain Cause now there depending, and to be tried, between James Tate & others, Plaintiff, and Peter Quinn, Defendant, on the part and in behalf of said Defendant."
October 23, 1810: In the case of James Tate & others vs. Peter Quinn, a jury finds in favor of the defendant, James Tate.
But in the end, did Peter Quinn produce the will of Thomas Tate? Unfortunately, that remains a mystery of history.
WHO WAS HARRISON TATE'S FATHER and GRANDFATHER?
Owing to the several DNA matches that I have to people whose "paper trail" verifies their claim to Thomas Tate, Sr. as their ancestor, largely though his daughter (Mary, the wife of Moses Kemp), I have no doubt whatever that Thomas Tate, Sr. was my great-great-grandfather Harrison Tate's great-grandfather, and therefore, my ancestor. But which one of Thomas Tate's six sons was Harrison Tates's grandfather? And who was his father? Unfortunately, owing to an apparent lack of documentation, that question isn't easy to answer. Consequently, what we have here is a "generation gap," times two.
Sometimes, the best way to find something is through a process of elimination, so the first step is to take a look at Thomas Tate, Sr.'s six sons-William, John, Thomas Jr., James, Henry, and Nathaniel-to see which ones had male children to carry on the family name. We should also keep in mind that the most likely candidate for grandfather would be someone who not only had one or more sons, but also resided in or near Greenville County, South Carolina, where my great-great-grandfather, Harrison Tate, was born.
For that reason, oldest son William Tate cannot be eliminated as a contender because he apparently resided in Spartanburg County, which is immediately adjacent to Greenville County. If he had any sons, they could have easily moved to Greenville County. But did he have any sons? Unfortunately, we don't know because we have practically no useful information about William that would aid us in any way. That being said, I'm inclined to think that though he cannot be eliminated altogether, he isn't a strong contender.
John Tate, the next oldest son and the one who apparently made sure that his father's will conveniently "disappeared," cannot be eliminated either. In 1784 he received a land grant in Greenville County, although he sold it only four years later. How many sons did he have? According to the 1790 federal census for Spartanburg County, where he then made his home on the Enoree River, there were two, both under sixteen at that time. In 1800, he had three sons less than ten years old and two between the ages of ten and fifteen, the same two, obviously, that were included in the 1790 census, which means that they were born sometime between 1785 and 1790, in just the right age group to be Harrison Tate's father in 1814. In 1800, John Tate also had two daughters under ten. John himself was over forty-five and his wife was between twenty-six and forty-four.
Although there's currently no way to be completely sure, I think that John Tate is the most likely candidate for Harrison Tate's grandfather. Not only did in live in the county adjoining Greenville County, he had two sons that were old enough to be married and having children in 1814.
Third on the list is James Tate, who should not be confused with the James Tate who died in York County, South Carolina, in 1828. This James Tate left a will, which was submitted for probate in York County and names the following heirs: Wife, Catherine; son, Luther Tate; daughter, Sarah Iles; son, Samuel Tate; daughter, Rebecca Wallace; son, John Tate (named as executor); son, Hugh Tate; son, Andrew Tate; daughter, Eleanor Tate; and youngest daughter, Catherine Tate. This will, dated April 10, 1827, was witnessed by Samuel Tate, Hugh Tate, and John Jackson. (See York County, South Carolina Probate Case 42, File 1779.)
It's more likely that the James Tate who died in Union County, South Carolina in 1842 was the son of Thomas Tate, Sr. Why? Because in 1800, as previously noted, Thomas Tate Sr.'s widow sold property in Union County to her sons James, Henry, and Nathaniel, to hold in common. Secondly, this James Tate had a daughter that married into the Gregory family, to which I have some DNA matches. This James Tate also made a will, naming the following heirs: Wife, Mary; daughter Elizabeth Gregory; son, Thomas Tate; son John O. Tate; son, Joseph Tate; and grandchildren, John O. Tate, James M. Tate, Francis E. Tate, and Mary C. Tate, the children of son James, deceased (who also died in 1842 and left a very brief will). Son John O. Tate and John Gregory were named executors. (See Union County Will Book A & B, p. 294 for will of James Tate's son James and pp. 11-12 for will of James Tate, Sr.)
Could any of James Tate's six sons be Harrison Tate's father? I think not, because according to the 1810 federal census, which was taken only four years before Harrison Tate was born, there were only two Tates in the entire county: John Tate and James Tate, and the John wasn't John O. Tate, because we have proof, through census records, that John O. Tate resided in Union County, South Carolina. Nor could the James Tate be the same man as the James Tate, Jr. who died in Union County in 1842, and of course, there was no Thomas or Joseph in Greenville County.
Next, we have Thomas Tate, Jr., who we can be pretty sure wasn't Harrison Tate's grandfather, because although he (Thomas Jr.) went to live in Georgia, the state where Harrison Tate later resided for a time, Thomas Jr. had only three daughters, no sons.
Then there is Henry Tate, who though he owned property in Greenville County, South Carolina, actually lived in Rutherford County, North Carolina. For that reason, he seems an unlikely contender, but I don't think he should be ruled out entirely. Did he have sons? Unfortunately, Henry Tate left no will in Rutherford County nor, apparently, is there any estate record in which we could find the names of heirs. It appears, however, that he had a son, Henry Tate, Jr., who is named in the 1830 federal census for Rutherford County, North Carolina, but not his father, who must have died by that time. I have at least one DNA match to Thomas Tate, Sr. through this family, but again, I think it's unlikely that Henry Tate was Harrison Tate's grandfather.
What about Nathaniel Tate? Although Nathaniel Tate resided for a time in Union County, South Carolina, where he and brothers James and Henry held land in common, by 1810 he was living in Edgefield District, South Carolina, where he was still residing when the 1820 federal census was taken, but for who no will, estate or probate record can be found. Did he have children though? The census for 1790 shows only him and his wife, with no children. By 1800, there were five boys and two girls under the age of 10, but obviously none of the son would have been old enough to have had children of their own in 1814, the year that Harrison Tate was born, so I think we can safely eliminate Nathanial Tate as a contender for the grandfather of Harrison Tate.
JOHN TATE (Son of Thomas Tate, Sr.)
(Abt. 1751-Abt. 1809)
John Tate, one of the three oldest sons of Thomas Tate, Sr. and his wife, Elizabeth, was born about 1751, almost certainly in Lunenburg County, Virginia, where he grew up as well as in Granville and Johnston counties, North Carolina. During the Revolutionary War he may have served as private in a North Carolina regiment. Verified DNA matches strongly suggest that he is the grandfather of my great-grandfather, Harrison Tate.
In 1781, John Tate was about thirty years of age when his father died, leaving him out his will, except for a $5 debt. Based on the sworn testimony of other persons, it is believed that he somehow came into possession of the will and then destroyed it.
In 1784, John Tate received a land grant in Greenville County, which he sold in 1788. In 1790 he was living in Spartanburg County, where the federal census enumerator found him and his wife with two sons, both under sixteen, and one daughter, age not given. In 1800, he had three sons less than ten years old and also two sons between the ages of ten and fifteen, the same two, obviously, that were included in the 1790 census, which means that they were born sometime between 1785 and 1790. In 1800, John Tate also had two daughters under the age of ten. In 1800, John himself was over forty-five and his wife was between twenty-six and forty-four. According to other researchers, his wife's name was Nancy Letitia Easley, daughter of Robert Easley.
One Tate family researcher (the late John Hawkins Napier III, author of The Tates of Pearl River) stated in his writing, without providing any specific evidence, that John Tate and his wife, Nancy, had the following named children:
- Elizabeth Tate, born 1780 or 1781, married Lenoir or Noah Westmoreland in South Carolina. abt. 1798, died in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana, Oct. 1856.
- James Tate, born March 18, 1782, married Abigail Holden in Amite Coumty, Mississippi, December 14, 1809, died June 20, 1861, in Hancock County, Mississippi, buried at Holden Graveyard, south of Kiln, Mississippi.
- John, Jr., born abt. 1783, married. Martha Ataly (1787-Dec.27, 1822) on August 3, 1806, died April 1, 1850, in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana.
- Charles Tate, Sr., born 1794, married MaryE. B. Miller (born 1794) on April 14, 1816, in Amite County, Mississippi, died Nov. 18, 1854, in Pike County, Mississippi.
- Catherine Tate, born abt. 1796, married Robert Willie on January 25, 1821, in Amite County, Mississippi, died sometime before 1874.
- Harvey Tate, born 1798, reportedly a twin, married Mrs. Elizabeth (Breed) Quillen (died before October 1855) on February 20, 1824 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana., died after June 5, 1872 in Pike County, Mississippi.
- Mary Tate, born 1798, reportedly a twin, married 1. Isaac Lindsey (died April 1833) on August 14, 1816, in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana; 2. Nehemiah Newman (died March 10, 1856); died after 1857 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana.
- Jesse Tate, born abt. 1799, married 1. Nancy Jackson (born before 1834) on November 13, 1820 in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana; 2. Rebecca Cutrer Ricks; died December 1850 in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.
Of the above-listed children, I feel certain that the first child, Elizabeth is correct. An 1809 deed, in which John Tate sold land in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, mentions him living near Noah Westmoreland, who was reportedly the husband of Elizabeth. Furthermore, I have at least two verified DNA matches to descendants of Elizabeth Tate. I also have one or more verified DNA matches to descendants of Charles Tate. This makes me think that chances are, the others are also the children of John Tate, with the possible exception of James Tate, a name that is unfortunately very common among the Tates, which can lead to confusion. I do think that John Tate had a son named James, but I don't think he went to live in Mississippi. (See next section, "Was James Tate of Greenville County, South Carolina Harrison Tate's Father?"
In 1804, John Tate's younger brother, James, instigated an official investigation into what had become of the will of their father, Thomas Tate, Sr. Shortly afterward, on May 23, 1804, in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, John Tate testified under oath that "some time after the Decease of Thomas Tate, that he was shown an instrument of wrighting by Joseph Camp [his brother-in-law\, as being the will of the sd. Thomas Tate Deceased, and that the said will, according to the best of his recollection, left to Elizabeth Tate, wife of sd. Thomas Tate Dsd., All the real & personal estate during her life or widowhood & that the estate was to be equally Devided between all his children, As the[y[ come of age, except the sd. John Tate, who was cut off with five pounds of An old account which was sd. to be in his own hands, and that he never new Peter Quinn in Possession of said will at any time, And that At a certain time in conversation sd. will Was offered to be given up to John Tate who Refused to take it, and Joseph Camp sd. he supposed he must give it up to Brother Quin but that he never saw sd. will given up To any person."
The following is a list of land transactions involving John Tate:
- On July 28, 1784, John Tate received a warrant from the State of South Carolina for 100 acres of land in the 96 District, "lying on Mountain Creek a branch of the Enoree River" in what is now Greenville County. (See South Carolina Land Grants Book A, p.234.)
- On November 18, 1788, John Tate sold the above-referenced land to Isaac Greene for 12 Pounds, 16 Shillings, and 10 Pence; witnessed by Moses Kemp and Aaron Kemp. (See Greenville County, South Carolina Deed Book A, pp.357-8.) NOTE: A statement on page 48 of Updike's Tate Families of the South misidentifies the buyer as Robert McAfee, who is named in the deed only as an adjacent landowner. The statement also misidentifies Mountain Creek as "Tomahawk Creek."
- On March 15, 1804, John Tate received a grant of 972 acres of land in Spartanburg County "on the Branches of Enoree and Tyger rivers" from the State of South Carolina. (See South Carolina Land Patents Book 40, p.292.)
- On February 10, 1809, John Tate bought 150 acres of land in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, on the Enoree River, from John Preast for $200. (See Spartanburg County, SC Deed Book N, p.341.)
- On October 8, 1809, John Tate [Jr.?] sold 555 acres of land in Spartanburg County, "being the land whereupon John Tate, Sr. and Noah Westmoreland formerly lived…being on both sides of Arnold's Creek waters of Enoree River on the north side of Said river" that was part of a grant of 972 acres to John Tate, Sr. in 1804, on Daniel McKee for $500. (See Spartanburg County SC Deed Book O, p.142.)
- On October 14, 1809, John Tate [Jr.?] sold 200 acres, "more or less," in Spartanburg County, on the Enoree River, to Samuel Jones for $200. (See Spartanburg County, SC Deed Book N, p.322.)
- On October 19, 1809, John Tate [Jr.?] sold 150 acres, "more or less," in Spartanburg County, to Francis Fowler for $200. (See Spartanburg County SC Deed Book O, pp.1-2.)
From all appearances, John Tate died sometime in the late summer or early fall of 1809, which would account for why his son, John Jr., was selling his property. It must have been his son. Otherwise, why refer to the land as being where "John Tate, Sr…formerly lived" in a deed? Clearly, this was done to identify the seller as the son, not the father.
Napier contended, without offering any evidence, that John Tate sold his property himself, prior to a move to either Mississippi or Louisiana, a trek allegedly made by all his adult children. Napier says that John himself either didn't make the journey or died en route, but that his wife, Nancy, survived, and obtained a land grant in Louisiana, as did her children. I could be wrong but think he is mistaken. Apparently, some of his children did move, but did they all?
WAS JAMES TATE OF GREENVILLE COUNTY
HARRISON TATE'S FATHER?
For reasons that I will explain in the following paragraphs, I feel reasonably certain that a young man named James Tate, who lived in Greenville County, South Carolina, in the early nineteenth century, was the father of my great-grandfather, Harrison Tate. Furthermore, I believe that this particular James Tate, was, or could be, the son of the John Tate described in the preceding section.
There's a problem though: Another researcher, the late John Hawkins Napier III, author of The Tates of Pearl River, agreed that John Tate had a son named James. However, according to Napier, James Tate left South Carolina sometime during the first decade of the nineteenth century and moved to Amite County, Mississippi, where in 1809 he married a woman named Amy Holden and lived there until he died in 1861, and that's all true. There is ample documentary evidence that a man named James Tate did do all those things. However, if that's the case, then the James Tate who went to Mississippi could not possibly be the father of Harrison Tate, since we know that Harrison Tate was born in Greenville County, South Carolina in 1814 and that both his parents died sometime before his childhood was over, leaving him, as an old family Bible notation reads, to be "raised an orphan."
Obviously, Napier and I can't both be right. Either the James Tate who moved to Mississippi was John Tate's son, or the James Tate who lived in Greenville County, South Carolina during the first two decades of the nineteenth century was his son. Since Napier never cited any specific evidence on which to base his belief that the James Tate who went to Mississippi was John Tates's son and also because I have found some contrary evidence, albeit circumstantial, I think I'm right. So, what is this evidence I've uncovered?
First of all, we know from York County, South Carolina court records and also from one Greenville County, South Carolina deed record that John Tate had a connection to the Kemp family, specifically Moses Kemp, who was his brother-in-law. Secondly, we know from both Greenville County, South Carolina deed records and also estate records that the James Tate who lived in Greenville County, South Carolina also had a connection to the Kemp family, one that suggests a familial relationship. As pointed out in another section, I personally have several verified DNA matches to the family of Moses Kemp, through his wife, Mary "Polly" Tate, daughter of John Tate.
Here are the specific facts:
If the 1800 federal census can be depended upon, there were no persons named Tate living in Greenville County, South Carolina, which adjoins Spartanburg County, until April 1, 1808, when a young man named James Tate bought 64 acres of land in Greenville County from Henry Oldham for $160. This land was located on both sides of Maple Creek, which was a tributary of the Enoree River. (See Greenville County SC Deed Bk H, p.155.) The reason I think that this James Tate is "ours" is because the very next day, Oldham sold Aaron Kemp (a son of Moses Kemp) 64 acres of land adjacent to James Tate's property, and, as I have already pointed out, I have several verified DNA matches to the Kemp family, through the marriage of Mary "Polly" Tate, daughter of Thomas Tate, Sr. to Moses Kemp. The fact that in 1811, James Tate bought one spider (a cooking implement) and one pot from the estate of Moses Kemp, deceased, further reinforces my belief because that purchase not only establishes that James Tate was resident in the same area as the Kemps, but also suggests a familial link between James Tate and the Kemp family. (This sale was recorded in Greenville County SC Probate Records Files 4-6, 215-420.
Only months after James Tate bought 64 acres of land from Henry Oldham, he sold the same property to Mary Oldham for $385, "being the full amount of an execution obligation by Jas. Briton to me in hand paid by Mary Oldham.: This land was on both sides of Maple Creek of Enoree at James Tate's line and Joshua Cox's land, to Bowers and Griffins line. The deed, dated December 24, 1808, was witnessed by Aaron Kemp and Henry Oldham. (See Greenville County SC Deed Book H, p.205.)
Of course, this raises a question: If that was the only property that James Tate owned in Greenville County, where did he live afterward?
Greenville and Spartanburg counties, South Carolina, from an old map; courtesy Library of Congress.
As it happens, we know that James Tate stayed in Greenville County because on January 24, 1810, he witnessed a deed from Mary Oldham to Elizabeth Green. (See Greenville County SC Deed Book H, p.380.) He is also named in the 1810 federal census for Greenville County, and, as already pointed out, in 1811, he bought two items from Moses Kemp's estate. Unfortunately, the census, the aforementioned deeds, and his name in the estate record of Moses Kemp is all we have in the way of documentation.
Nevertheless, I believe that James Tate was almost certainly Harrison Tate's father. Why? Because as pointed out at the beginning of this essay, Harrison Tate was born in near Greenville, South Carolina in 1814 but "raised an orphan," and though James Tate was enumerated in the 1810 census for Greenville County, South Carolina, where he is shown with a wife the same age as him, namely 16 to 25 years (born between 1785 and 1794), and a daughter under the age of ten (born between 1800 and 1810), he is conspicuously absent from the 1820 census for Greenville County, South Carolina. The reason for that, I think, is because by 1820 he was dead and his wife, name unknown, apparently also, thus leaving their presumed son, Harrison Tate, born in 1814, to be "raised an orphan." And though it's hardly proof positive, there's also the fact that decades later, after Harrison Tate got married and started a family, he named his first-born child, a boy, James Tate, which could very well have been done in honor of his father.
One possible explanation for the apparent untimely demise of James Tate is a military service card for a man by that name who served as a private in Alston's 3rd South Carolina regiment during the War of 1812, which actually lasted until 1815. Was James Tate killed in the war, the victim or an Indian arrow or a British bullet? We don't know, because the card does not say, but it's possible. Of course, war would not account for the equally untimely death of Harrison Tate's mother, so the reason for the demise of both parents remains lost to history. In all likelihood, they were both carried away by some illness.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I have so far been unable to find any evidence confirming James Tate's demise. There appear to be no court, or estate, or probate records of any kind that reference him. Apart from Napier's writing, no contrary evidence has come to light either.
There also appears to be no evidence to tell us what happened to the daughter of James Tate or who raised her and her presumed brother, Harrison Tate, after their parents' demise. Was it Aaron Kemp and his wife? Or a Tate relative? We just don't know.
WHAT ABOUT JOHN TATE OF GREENVILLE COUNTY?
In the 1810 federal census for Greenville County, South Carolina, the only other Tate listed, besides James Tate, is a John Tate, who was between the ages of 26 and 44 (which means he was born sometime between 1766 and 1784), with a wife in the same age group, and four sons under the age of ten (born between 1800 and 1810) and three sons between the ages of 10 to 15 (born between 1795 and 1800). No daughters. Obviously, this is not the same John Tate who lived in neighboring Spartanburg County in 1800. So, who was he? I think he was probably James' older brother, John Tate, Jr., the one who sold John Tate, Sr.'s land in Spartanburg County in 1809.
Or, he could be the stepfather of the John M. Tate who is listed in the federal census of Greenville County, South Carolina for 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860. John M. Tate died there in 1865, leaving a will and naming his heirs. According to an anonymous researcher, John M. Tate's birth name was John M. Pearson and after his father died, his mother, whose maiden name was Phoebe Calloway, married John Tate (son of William Tate) and John M. Pearson adopted the Tate surname and kept it for the rest of his life, passing it on to his children. Meanwhile, the stepfather, John Tate, removed to Gordon County, Georgia, where he died in 1858.
The principal question though is: Was the John Tate named in the 1810 Greenville County, South Carolina census old enough to have been the father of James Tate of Greenville County? The answer is "possibly," because if John Tate was born as early at 1766, he could have been old enough to father children by the late 1780s, which is about when James Tate is born. The trouble is that we don't know exactly when either James or John was born.
This website copyright © 1996-2011 by Steven R. Butler, Ph.D. All rights reserved.