Nicholas Anthony (c1780-1858)

Nicholas Anthony was certainly born in Orange County, North Carolina but there was no record of him found there.  The proof that he was a son of Jacob Anthony rests on circumstantial evidence bolstered by Ephraim M. Anthony’s letter of 1902 that lists Nicholas Anthony among the children of Jacob Anthony and Magdalena Shofner. 1  Oddly, both he and his father are missing from the extant Orange County 1800 census records.

Moves to Tennessee

He seems to have been one of the first of his family to move to Tennessee.   He was in Tennessee by about 1809, as his children born 1810 and thereafter give Tennessee as their birthplace in later censuses.  He may have moved much earlier, as a records book of an early resident of Bedford County, Tennessee contains an entry mentioning an “N. Anthony” dated in 1806.2 Although the 1810 census for Tennessee has been lost, Nicholas and his older brother Jacob Anthony both appeared in the 1812 tax list for Bedford County.  The 1820 census is incomplete, but Nicholas appears in each census of Bedford County from 1830 through 1850.

He received two Tennessee land grants of 15 acres each on Thompson’s Creek, both dated 23 February 1813 and registered 20 June 1820.3 He bought another 50 acres on Thompson’s Creek on 13 September 1819 from John Cates4 and 81 acres in the same area on 4 July 1827.5  On 1 June 1842 he bought 101 acres from Frances Parker, the widow of Jonathan Parker;  on 15 May 1854 Parker’s children disputed the sale, mentioning that Nicholas Anthony had in the meantime given the land to his son Thomas.6

Nicholas was a member of the Shofner Lutheran Church in Bedford County and he represented the church as a delegate to the 2nd and 4th Evangelical Lutheran Conferences in 1827 and 1829.

Two Wives?

Nicholas Anthony appears to have had two wives.  His first wife was Elizabeth Nicholson.  A marriage bond exists in Guilford County, North Carolina for Nicholas Anthony and Elizabeth Nicholson dated 21 October 1800, with Jacob Anthony the security.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Archibald Nicholson, whose will dated 8 August 1821 and proved at the November Court 1821 in Orange County, left slaves and personal property to three unmarried daughters (Delilah, Caty, and Nancy), ten shillings to a married daughter named Sucky Manus, and ten shillings to “my grandson Young Antony.”7  Elizabeth had apparently died after giving birth to Young Anthony.

The mother of all the other children was known as “Sarah” or “Sally”, and that is the wife’s name in the 1850 through 1870 censuses and in every Bedford County deed in which a wife’s name appears.  Elizabeth and Sarah appear to have been different persons.   The structure of Anthony Nicholson’s will suggests that his daughter was dead and the fact that Young Anthony alone of the children returned to North Carolina, as well as the apparent gap between his birth and the next child, also suggests that Nicholas Anthony married Sarah as his second wife.  Indeed, we know from the court and deed records surrounding the settlement of Nicholas Anthony’s estate that Sarah was the mother of all the other children.

Nicholas appears in the 1830 census of Bedford County, both he and his wife aged 40-50, with eight sons and four daughters; three of his sons were in their own households by then.  In 1840, he and his wife are both 50-60, with only five children still at home.  He appears in the 1850 census of Bedford County in the 25th Civil District, with wife Sarah (age 67) and Katherine (27), Laten (24) and Jasper (21) still in the household.  His occupation is listed as “farmer” and the value of real estate as $3,500.   His age was 70 and his state of birth as North Carolina.

Old Age Claims a Victim

By the late 1850s, in his late 70s, Nicholas was suffering from some form of dementia.  In September 1858 a jury was appointed “to examine the lunacy of Nicholas Anthony”.8 In October the jury reported he “was a lunatic and unable to take care of his business”, and the court appointed his son Laton J. Anthony as his guardian.9 Nicholas, who would have been about 78 at this time, died within a year, as his will was proved at the October court 1859 and the widow Sally Anthony and Laton J. Anthony were confirmed as executors.10 The will itself no longer exists, but later court records make it clear that he left one piece of property to his children and his home place property to Sally during her lifetime with reversion to his children at her death.

The widow Sarah appears in the 1860 and 1870 censuses in the household of her son Laton J. Anthony.  She evidently died sometime in 1873.  A statement filed by George T. Anthony on 1 October 1872 states that his father Nicholas Anthony died in 1858 and his widow still resided on the property where he died.11 An offer to auction the home place land date 4 February 1873 also mentions the land “on which his widow resides.”12 But a document dated 29 September 1873 speaks of the “estate of our grandmother Sallie Anthony”, implying she was dead.13 The settlement of her estate by her son Laton J. Anthony occurred after Nicholas Anthony’s death.14 I failed to note the date.

Settlement of the Estate

At his death, Nicholas owned two pieces of property:  114 acres on Thompson’s Creek in the 24th Civil District of Bedford County, and the home place of 198 acres in the 25th Civil District in Roseville.  The 1860 and 1870 censuses show Sarah Anthony living in the 25th Civil District, and his children later stated that Nicholas (and later Sarah) lived on that property in Roseville.  Nicholas Anthony’s lost will must have left the 114 acre tract in equal shares to his children, for they engaged in a protracted court case over the distribution of that land in the 24th District.  Six of the children wanted to sell the property and divide the proceeds, while the rest preferred to partition the land.  The records of this case clearly show the children (or their heirs) were splitting the property 13 ways because, before the case was settled, several shares and parts of shares were sold, in each case the shares being 1/13.   For example, Henry Anthony sold his 1/13 share to George Thomas Anthony prior to settlement.15 The case was in court before 2 November 1869 because on that date the court acted on the recommendation of a commission it had appointed to consider a partition of the property.  The commission laid out a 2/13 partition for George T. Anthony (19 1/2 acres), who owned his own share and Henry Anthony’s share, and recommended the remaining 94½ acres be sold.16 The land was then sold to William Shofner for $3,780 and the proceeds divided 11 ways ‑‑ $341.39 apiece after expenses.  George T. Anthony then immediately sold his 19 1/2 acres to the same William Shofner, completing the transfer of all 114 acres.17 The case was settled on 1 September 1873 when the court clerk recorded that he was holding the money for each of the heirs.18

After Sally Anthony’s death (probably in 1875), the division of the 198-acre home place in the 25th District prompted a similar protracted court case, with the petition filed 4 November 1875.  It stated that the land contained “the home in which Sally Anthony had resided at her death and for years before.”  Again, some legatees wanted to partition the land and others wanted to sell it and divide the proceeds.  This time around, the children traded their shares beginning in 1870, with some shares changing hands more than once.  By the time the petition was filed, Layton J. Anthony had acquired the interests of Frederick, Roddy, Mary, Jacob, Elizabeth, and Young Anthony, giving him a 7/13 share, and argued for a partition.19 He eventually succeeded and ended up owning the family home which he apparently had never left.  Note that there were a smaller number of litigants in the 1875 case, with only three of the Anthony children participating.

Fourteen Children:

The referenced court cases (which include a number of sworn statements of relationships), together with the 1850‑1880 censuses, give us a clear picture of the children of Nicholas Anthony:

  1. Young Anthony (c1800- aft1875)  He was evidently the only child of Elizabeth Nicholson, a theory suggested by his separation in both age and geography from the other children.  He married Mary (Polly) Fogleman, daughter of Peter Fogleman, but where is unclear.  A marriage bond was filed in Orange County, North Carolina dated 7 November 1823 and another one for the same marriage in Bedford County, Tennessee on 7 October 1825.  Since his father had been in Tennessee for several years, one wonders why he returned to Orange County to marry.  (Note that this raises the possibility that he was the young male in Jacob Anthony’s 1820 household.)  He was, however,  a head of a household in the 1830 census of Bedford County, he and his wife both 20-30 with one female under 5 years.  He must have moved back to North Carolina almost immediately, for a son was born there about 1831 according to later censuses.  He was back in Orange County, North Carolina in 1840 with a household of three male and two female children.  By 1850 he was in Henry County, Indiana (age 50) with wife Polly and two sons, Nicholas Anthony (19) and Daniel Anthony (12), all born in North Carolina.  In 1860 he was in Randolph County, Indiana (age 58) with wife Mary and son Daniel still in the household.  He was alive as late as 1875 when he received his settlement of the 25th District property via his attorney.
  2. Roddy Anthony (c1805 – aft1880).  His name consistently appears as “Roddy” in the Bedford court records.  He married Cynthia Brown, probably the sister of Franklin Brown, according to descendants.  He was in the 1830 census of Bedford County but apparently moved to San Augustine County, Texas where a character certificate indicates that he emigrated in 1831 with a family of 8.20 He is in the 1850 through 1880 censuses of San Augustine County.  In 1850 (age 45) he is shown with wife “Sintha” and six children.  In 1880 he is in the San Augustine census (age 75) with a wife named Lucy [?] and a 50-year old daughter named Sarah McIntosh.  He consistently gave his own birthplace as North Carolina.  He received a portion of the settlement of the 24th District property, but sold his interest in the 25th District property in 1875 to Layton J. Anthony.21 This deed confirms that he was a child of Sarah, as it conveys his share “of his father Nicholas Anthony’s property which was left to his mother in her lifetime.”
  3. Henry A. Anthony (c1807 – aft 1870).  He had his own household by 1830.  In the 1850 census for Bedford County, he is age 43 with a wife named Rebecca (age 38) and the following children:  William (22), Elizabeth (19), Nicholas (18), Nancy (12) and Margaret (5).  By 1860 he is in the Lawrence County census, age 53, with Rebecca and Nancy and Margaret left in the household. On 7 September 1868 a power of attorney was recorded from Henry A. Anthony of Lawrence County to N. R. Anthony (apparently his son) to sell his interest in the estate of “my dear deceased father Nicholas Anthony… particularly in that tract on which he lived at the time of his death bounded by Wm. Shofner and others in Roseville… and also my interest in that land on Thompson’s Creek bounded by Joseph Stephens, Laten Anthony and others.”22 His interests in both properties were sold to his brother George T. Anthony for $600.23 He consistently gave his birthplace as North Carolina.
  4. Elizabeth Anthony (c1807 – bef1870).  She and Henry may well have been twins, for she gives her age as 43 in the 1850 census.  She married William Neese.  A statement filed in Bedford County on 16 November 1870 by Riley E. Stubblefield and wife Sarah E. Stubblefield stated that Sarah E. Stubblefield was a granddaughter of Nicholas and Sally Anthony and one of the surviving children of William Neese and his deceased wife “Betsey” Anthony.24 A similar statement filed 3 August 1872 stated L. W. Yates, M. C. Yates, Mellissa Neese, and Cornelia Neese were grandchildren of Nicholas Anthony and children of William and Elizabeth Neece, both deceased.25 A William and Elizabeth Neese appear in the 1850 census of Henry County, Tennessee with Elizabeth age 43 and children named Sara E., Margaret, Mary C., Rebecca, Melissa, Jasper J. Bathara, Eliza, and Emily.
  5. Mary Anthony (c1808 – aft1870).  She married Franklin M. Brown on 27 January 1826 in Bedford County and was known as Polly Brown in the court records dealing with the 24th District property, for which she received a full share.  The petition of 1869 calls her “Polly Brown.” Mary and Frederick Brown were separated not long after their marriage, after Franklin Brown claimed that she had a child by another man four months into their marriage.26 Mary found her way to Texas where her brother Roddy was living, and on 12 February 1845 she remarried to John B. Palvadore (Juan Baptiste Palvadore) in Nacogdoches County, Texas.  Palvadore’s household in the 1850 census of Nacogdoches County included his wife Mary (age 42 born NC) and children named Mary (18), John (15), Polly (10), Rebecca (8), Eliza A. (5), Margaret (4), James (3), and Susan (1).  All the children were shown as born in Texas except Mary and Polly who were born in Louisiana.  Palvadore must have died not long thereafter, as Mary was listed as a widow in both the 1860 and 1870 censuses of San Augustine County.  The 1860 census has her as age 52 with the latter four children plus Peter Nicholas Pavadore, age 8.  The 1870 census has her as age 59 with Peter still at home.  Clearly she was the “Polly Brown” of the first court case, though why she was styled as Brown rather than Palvadore is unclear.  In the second property settlement she was “Mary Palvadore”.   On 7 December 1870 Mary Palvadore, widow, of San Augustine County, Texas wrote a power of attorney to “Roddy Anthony my brother to proceed to Tennessee [and sue Layton J. Anthony] for my part of the estate of my father Nicholas Anthony or my mother Sarah Anthony.”27 Layton Anthony promptly bought her share.28
  6. Frederick Anthony (6 March 1810 – aft 1870).  His census records (as with the later children of Nicholas Anthony) give his birthplace as Tennessee.  Frederick apparently emigrated to Texas in 183029 but later returned to Bedford County.  He is in the 1850 census of Bedford County with a wife named Susan and seven children: Margaret (13), John (10), Jacob (8), Cincinnati (6), Martha (5), Narcissa (5), and Sarah (1).  Susan was Susannah Landers, a sister of Jacob Anthony’s wife Phoebe Landers.  Frederick and Susan Anthony deeded their interest in the estate of Henry Landers to Robert L. Landers on 26 May 1837.30  He later sold his interest in his father’s estate to his brother Layton J. Anthony.31
  7. Margaret Anthony (6 March 1810 – aft1873).  Also known as “Peggy”, she married Levi Kimbro in Bedford County on 9 March 1832.  The 1850 census for Bedford County shows Levi Kimbro (age 47) and Margaret (age 40) with 11 children, located five households away from her father.  A sworn statement in the 25th District land case states she was the former Peggy Anthony.  She received settlements in both cases.
  8. Jacob Anthony (c1811 – by1875).  Like Roddy and Frederick, Jacob apparently emigrated to San Augustine, Texas in 1831, where an 1835 certificate indicates he was head of a family of three.32  This may not have been the same person.  A Jacob Anthony married Phoebe Landers on 12 December 1832 in Bedford County, the record indicating that he was of age.  On 4 August 1834 Jacob and Phoebe Anthony sold to Abel Landers 12 1/2 acres on Thompson’s Creek that was part of a 125-acre tract partitioned to the heirs of Henry Landers, deceased.33 The 1850 census shows Jacob (age 38) and Phoebe (age 38) with six children:  Sara (17), Susan (15), Peter (16), James (9), Robert (5), and Frederick (2).  He received a full share of the 24th District property in 1873 but on 25 December 1875 eight of his children sold his share in the 25th District property to Layton J. Anthony, stating that Jacob Anthony was deceased and they were his only heirs.34 The children identified themselves as Peter W. Anthony, Robert A. Anthony, J. L. Anthony, Sarah Ann Anthony, L. A. Anthony, S. C. Anthony, and J. T. Anthony.  Incidentally, at least one of these documents verifies that Jacob was a son of Sallie.35
  9. William Horace Anthony (6 August 1819 – 1 April 1884)  See separate page.
  10. Katherine Anthony (c1822 – by1860).  She appears to have died in the 1850s. She was not a party to either court case, nor were her heirs.  She was in Sally Anthony’s household, aged 27, in 1850 but did not appear in the 1860 census.  Whether she was actually a daughter of this family or not is not provable, but she does fit nicely into the gap in the birth years of the known children.
  11. George Thomas Anthony (born ca1824). In the settlement of the 24th District property, George had bought his brother Henry’s share, and was given 19.5 acres of the property in a partition.36 The remaining heirs sold the rest of the tract to William Shofner, and not long after George T. Anthony sold his portion to William Shofner as well.37 He bought his brother Henry’s share of the 25th District (the Roseville home place) property on 7 September 186838, but sold both shares to R. L. Landis in 1875.39  In the 1850 census, he is listed as George Anthony (age 25) with a wife Elizabeth (24) and one child: Nicholas (3).  The censuses of 1850 through 1880 show George Thomas Anthony living in the 24th District.  His wife was named Elizabeth, born about 1827 in Tennessee.  She evidently died between 1870, when she was listed in the household, and 1880, when George was shown as a widower. The 1870 census shows him with a Nathan S. Anthony, age 23, in the household.  This may not have been his son Nicholas Anthony, but rather his orphaned nephew, the son of Jasper Anthony.  He married a woman named Elizabeth, apparently about 1845, and had children:  Nicholas Anthony (c1847-1893), Harriet A. Anthony (1850-1914), Margaret (Emma) Anthony (c1855-?), Kate (Lettie) Anthony (c1857-?), and George Anthony (c1867-?).
  12. Layton J. Anthony (1 Dec 1826 – 1880).   It’s not completely clear whether his name was Layten or Layton, but it appears in records mainly as Laton or Layton.  He appeared in his mother’s household through 1870.  He was unmarried in 1850 but in the 1860 census he seems to be married to a Sarah (age 30) with children Elizabeth (10) and Lucy (5).  He was co‑executor of his father’s estate, and administered his mother’s estate.  An 11 March 1880 court entry mentions “L. M. Anthony, the widow of L. J. Anthony, deceased.”  The gravestones of L. J. and L. M. Anthony also seem to indicate his wife at the time of his death was not Sarah.  His gravestone says he was born 1 Dec 1826 and died in 1880.40
  13. Peter Anthony (c1827 – c1850?).  Since we can determine the rough birth dates of the other children, Peter must have been one of the two youngest males born 1825-29 in Nicholas Anthony’s 1830 and 1840 households.  He does not appear in the 1850 or 1860 census, and apparently died shortly after marrying in the 1840s.  His heirs, E. P. Anthony, Nicholas Anthony, and Eugene Anthony, all of Lincoln County, participated in both court cases, declaring their father to be Peter Anthony, a deceased son of Nicholas Anthony.
  14. Jasper N. Anthony (c1829 – by1869).  He was still in his father’s household in 1850 (age 21) but in 1860 (age 28) he appeared next door to his mother with a wife named Mary (aged 23) and four children:  Benjamin L. (6), Nicholas M. (4), Nathan (2), and James J. (1).  He evidently died soon thereafter, as the 1869 petition stated he died in 1862 intestate leaving no property other than his interest in his father’s estate, and that his four children were his only heirs.   They were all residents of Gibson County at the time. His brother George T. Anthony received the cash settlement in the 24th District property on 1 September 1873 as the administrator of Jasper N. Anthony, deceased.  In 1875 the four children, still living in Gibson County, sold their interests in the 25th District property to Layton J. Anthony.41


  1. Shoffner Family History, Margaret Shoffner DeMoss (privately published, 1971), p39. []
  2. Need to add this reference. []
  3. Bedford County Deed Book M, p105 and p107 []
  4. Bedford County Deed Book N, p272 []
  5. Bedford County Deed Book JJ, p35 []
  6. Bedford County Deed Book MM, p104 []
  7. Orange County Will Book D, p612. []
  8. Bedford County Minute Book -1857, p230 []
  9. Bedford County Minute Book -1857, p253 []
  10. Bedford County Chancery Court Minutes 1859‑60, p459 []
  11. Bedford County Court Minute Book C, p572 []
  12. Bedford County Court Minute Book D, p69. []
  13. Bedford County Deed Book III, p456. []
  14. Bedford County Wills and Inventories B, p354. []
  15. Bedford County Deed Book GGG, p215 []
  16. Bedford County Court Minute Book D, p215 []
  17. Bedford County Deed Book HHH p323 []
  18. Bedford County Court Minute Book D, p214 []
  19. Bedford County Deed Book III, p121 and p480, Book LLL p205 and 373. []
  20. Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas, Gifford White, editor (Clearfield Press, 1985), p4 and p221. []
  21. Bedford County Deed Book LLL, p373 []
  22. Bedford County Deed Book GGG p215 []
  23. Bedford County Deed Book GGG p215 (immediately follows the power of attorney). []
  24. Bedford County Deed Book III, p458. []
  25. Bedford County Deed Book JJJ, p219. []
  26. His 1833 divorce petition claimed that she admitted the child was by her cousin Alfred Anthony. []
  27. Bedford County Deed Book III, p480 []
  28. Bedford County Deed Book III, p481 []
  29. Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas, Gifford White, editor (Clearfield Press, 1985), p4 and p221. These certificates indicated an emigration to San Augustine, Texas in 1830 as a single man. []
  30. Bedford County Deed Book GG, p128 []
  31. Bedford County Deed Book III, p121. []
  32. Character Certificates in the General Land Office of Texas, Gifford White, editor (Clearfield Press, 1985), p4 and p221. []
  33. Bedford County Deed Book EE, p13 []
  34. Bedford County Deed Book LLL, p205 []
  35. Bedford County Deed Book III, p456 – a power of attorney 29 September 1873 from Peter A. Anthony and Jane his wife, the former Jane Neece, of Dyer County speaks of “the estate of our grandmother Sallie Anthony”. []
  36. Bedford County Court Minute Book D, p215 []
  37. Bedford County Deed Book HHH p323 []
  38. Bedford County Deed Book GGG, p215. []
  39. Bedford County Deed Book LLL, p221. []
  40. Shofner Lutheran Church Cemetery, Bedford County. []
  41. Bedford County Deed Book MMM, p60 []