FROM TREE TO SHINING TREE
A Fowlkes Family History
Contributed by: Lucy Wallace Oakes
of Myrtle Beach, SC Posted by
Myrtle Bridges February 20, 2006
My Dear family,
Another holiday season is upon us and this past year has brought many changes in our lives as is
the normal process of life. Many challenges have come before each of us this past year, to keep us
ever mindful of where we are going and whom we must follow and count on to keep us on the right road
With this in mind, I wanted to update the family of my progress in my genealogical journey of those
who came before us and are already home. It is through our forefathers we started on this journey to
home, and it is they who made us whom we are today. By knowing them we have a better sense of "home",
and a greater understanding of the longing in each of us to know from where we came. We learn who will
be there to greet us as we arrive to our eternal home.
Most of my findings this year have not been new but have served to eliminate so many other lines of
Fooks / Foulks / Fowlkes whom I am sure relate but are not our direct line of descendants. This process
of elimination has absorbed so much of my research time but is the essential focus after a certain point
I am proud to say I have earned the title of "seasoned genealogical researcher" as noted in a recent
email I received from a researcher who was making inquiry regarding my data. I was flattered! Does this
mean I have to revert to keeping a clean house again now? Ugh!
Unfortunately I cannot say that I have found without doubt our direct line of Fooks, but I can say that
through this intensely circuitous part of my journey I feel confident that I have come very close. All of
the lines I have ruled out eventually revert back to the linage at Roger Fowke which I sent you last year.
So what does it matter you may ask yourselves.
The fun has been the puzzle to discover by which line we got from James Fowkes born 1588 in Brewood,
Staffordshire England, our original immigrant ancestor and his wife Rachel Hayden, born 1594, to William
Mortimer Fowlkes, father of our grandmother Lucy Blake Fowlkes Watts French.
James Fowks and Rachel Haydens gave birth to Thomas Fowks in 1650 in England and immigrated with their
son to Accomack County, Virginia.
Accomack is at the bottom of the land strip, or cape, divided from the mainland of Virginia by the
Chesapeake Bay. This Thomas was listed as Quaker and Thomas and his wife Sarah Dorrington, born 1677,
were members of the "Dagsborrough Hundred" who were a group of Quakers who fled to Maryland around 1690
to escape the escalating persecution of the Quakers in Virginia. Enclosed please see the Dagsboro Hundred
It was this community of God's people in which I found many surnames and actual grave stones of these
people in Albemarle, North Carolina and surrounding counties. I feel this data shows how our line got
to Albemarle and ultimately to Richmond Co., Rockingham, North Carolina where our loving grandmother
Nannie, Lucy Blake Fowlkes French, was born and where our mother, Lucy Watts French Wallace was raised
and married William McKinley Wallace Jr. on March 30, 1947.
Here is what I know to be fact. You must ultimately decide for yourselves if you think this is proof
enough. I feel confident this is the correct family but I will continue my search to prove positively,
that is a promise.
In 2003 while searching the surname of "Blake" on the internet, I found a website entitled "Southern
Blake's In America". There was a link to the author of this website and I wrote to her. After several
emails Diane Bramble Fanning gave me her personal information and I discovered she lived in Fayetteville
N.C. and that she too descends from Thomas Blake of Isle Of Wight Virginia. She has been invaluable in
The exact lineage from Thomas Blake of Virginia to our own Isham Blake of Fayetteville N.C. is in your
family book "FROM TREE TO SHINING TREE" which you received in 2004. Where we descend from Isham Blake,
Diane descends from Isham Blake's sister Patsy. Patsy Blake married a Mr. Flack. Diane and I have
enjoyed visiting and emailing each other, and finding out we are cousins and exchanging information.
While researching our Fowlkes line, I met Myrtle Bridges online in the Richmond County GenWeb website
for Richmond County, N.C. She has written several genealogy books of the people of Rockingham N.C.
I don't remember exactly how I discovered the name of Nannie's paternal grandfather from Rockingham,
William Stephen Fowlkes. I think Myrtle Bridges sent me his name. I wrote cousin Diane Fanning, and
told her I was looking for the father of William Stephen Fowlkes and that I had no idea where to start.
She suggested I look at different spellings of the Fowlks name. She found a Fooks family listed in
Albemarle N.C. and it really panned out!
I asked Myrtle Bridges about William Stephen Fowlkes and she sent me a document which names William
Stephen Fowlkes of Rockingham, North Carolina, a Justice Of The Peace. He was also Postmaster there.
William Stephen Fowlkes was the father of Nannie's father, Dr. William Mortimer Fowlkes. William Stephen's
wife, Lucy Jones Blake, daughter of Isham Blake from Fayetteville, N.C. was his wife.
This couple was our mother's maternal great grandparents.
On a trip to Rockingham North Carolina last September, 2005, I found deeds to land bought by William
Stephen Fowlkes in Rockingham. He bought a house near the downtown Rockingham town circle. It was on
Hancock Street. The house was bought from John C. and Jane McKinnon for two-hundred dollars and the
deed was dated January 4, 1872. The McKinnon's had inherited the house, and the lot behind the house,
from his father, Charles McKinnon, on January 13, 1846. Jane McKinnon was at this time living in Polk
County Texas and that is where correspondence to purchase said land and house was directed.
It is interesting here that our William Stephen didn't purchase this house until nineteen years after
his marriage to Lucy Jones Blake. They were married in Cumberland County, N.C. on May 25, 1853. Lucy
was twenty-three years old. Bondsman for the marriage was JOHN A. NICHOLSON, and witness to the marriage
was J.T.WARDEN. The marriage was performed by S.MILTON FROST, BISHOP OF THE N.C. CONFERENCE OF THE
EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN AMERICA. This information found in North Carolina Marriage Bonds, 1741 - 1868,
database online in Ancestry.com.
William Stephen Fowlkes and Lucy Jones Blake had six children as follows:
1. Alice Viola Fowlkes.
Lyn Sue Tayloe from Myrtle Beach S.C. remembers Aunt Alice and her visits
to her mom's home.
Lyn Sue is our cousin, where she descends from Milton Fowlkes(below), we descend from Willie
Mortimer Fowlkes, brother of Milton.
2. William Mortimer Fowlkes, born June 12, 1856, Nannies father.
3. Fannie Fowlkes who married a Mr. Neal from Hamlet, N.C.
4. Milton H. Fowlkes, a bank president in Rockingham, who took care of Mama Cameron after his brother's
death. He was rumored to have been deeply in love with his brother's wife, Lelia Maude Wilburn Fowlkes.
At one point Milton and his wife Sue Coleman lived next door to Mama Cameron on Washington Street.
5. Lily Fowlkes
6. John Fowlkes
I have mentioned how William Mortimer "borrowed" one hundred thousand dollars from his father-in-law,
Isham Blake, and never paid him back, according to the book BLAKES OF THE CAPE FEAR, compiled by Marlene
Blake of Lumberton, N.C.
On page 41, Volume 1, Blake Craft writes as follows:
"twice he (Isham Blake) loaned $50,000 (not five thousand) to his son-in-law William S. Fowlkes; first
to put him in business and the second time to save his business- wishing to see that his eldest daughter,
Lucy, have a good life. This money was never repaid. When the end came, Isham Blake Jr. suffered a stroke
in the home of William Stephen Fowlkes, who wrote a note ( I have it) to his half brother-in-law, my
great uncle, Henry Clay Blake, asking him to come to help take care of Isham".
I am at present trying to obtain a copy of this note from Marlene Blake of Lumberton N.C. who now holds
Blake Craft's genealogy research. Blake Craft contributed this information to the BLAKES OF THE CAPE
FEAR book. I recently learned of his death in N.C. and called Marlene Blake. She told me she would
look for the post-CARD, not note, which she has seen before and send it to me.
I was intrigued by this information regarding this business venture by William Stephen which took all
of this money from Isham Blake. I have since been looking for this information and in a book at the
library in Rockingham entitled, WILLIAM D. USSERY'S ACCOUNT BOOK, 1854-1871, I found an entry on page
457 as follows;
"Fowlkes Soap Company is believed to have been a business venture of W.S. ( WILLIAM STEPHEN FOWLKES)
William Stephen Fowlkes, O4/29/1830 - 02/01/1910, married: LUCY J. BLAKE (08/27/1830 - 08-28-1889).
W.S.FOWLKES was a jeweler, restauranteur, and Rockingham Postmaster. He was also a Justice of the Peace.
Ironically, the deed I found in Rockingham list's Isham Blake as a witness
probably because he paid
for the McKinnon house. (Oops!).
According to the Blake book, there are two other children listed for William and Lucy. Lanora Josephine
born June 17, 1858 in Lumberton N.C., died a short four years later on October 25, 1862, and a Mary Ann
Mortimer Fowlkes, born in Rockingham N.C., on May 25, 1867, and died at age 3 months old on August 01,
1867. The Blake book states the information was taken from the FAMILY BIBLE OF WILLIAM STEPHEN and LUCY
BLAKE FOWLKES. I have no idea where this bible is. I know that Lynn Sue Tayloe of Myrtle Beach has a
family bible belonging to the FOWLKES. However, I don't know which FOWLKES it belonged to. She has so
far not been able to access it from Aulander N.C. Marlene Blake told me she has seen this bible at the
home of Lula "Sis" Fowlkes Matheson and there is no more information before William Stephen and Lucy
In a book entitled, "LOOKING BACK IN TIME", by Joe Mac McLaurin, which I found in the Rockingham library
genealogy room, I found a snippet from the DAILY REVIEW, a Wilmington, N.C. newspaper dated June 6, 1885.
It reads as follows:
"Mrs. W.S. Fowlkes (of Rockingham) has suffered a severe attack of paralysis or apoplexy, and now lies
in a critical condition with little hope of recovery".
However, by dates it appears that Lucy did live another four years. The date for her death is 1889.
Interesting! William Stephen lived until 1910, almost eleven years after Lucy's death.
William Stephen Fowlkes died in Rockingham N.C on February 3, 1910.
Ironically, in the 1900 census of Rockingham N.C., one year after the death of her husband Dr.William
Mortimer Fowlkes, Lelia Fowlkes "Mama Cameron" was living in the house on East Washington Street,
downtown Rockingham, and living with her was her father in law WILLIAM STEPHEN FOWLKES. That home
survives today and was at sometime moved down the hill from Washington Street and now fronts Lawrence
She must have taken care of her father in law in his old age. At that time the 1900 census showed
she was housing William Stephen, her grandmother ALWEETA WILBURN, her children Minta (Araminta)..
named for her sister Araminta Price, Lucy, Willie, Hunter, James and Harry, and five boarders! Whew!
Lelia Maude Wilburn Fowlkes Cameron married Daddy Cameron, John Duncan Cameron, a jewelry store owner,
in 1905. She lived as a widow for six years following the death of her husband Dr. William Mortimer
Fowlkes until she married John Cameron.
Now back to our forefather James Fowks who lived in England.
James Fowks was a British Sea Captain, son of Roger Fowke, son of William Fowke and back, as I will
include later. James Sr. was married twice, to whom we do not know. He died of the plague in 1680.
He was born February 4, 1597 in Wyrley Grove, Canook, England. James Fowk Jr. was the son of John Sr.
and his second wife.
James Jr., father of Thomas Fowke, was the son of James Fowke Sr.
James Jr. was born 1625 at Brewood, Staffordshire, England.
He married Rachael Haydens in England. James and Rachael had four children, the second was our Thomas
Fowkes. Here I must diverge to mention there is much data regarding Gerrard Fowke of Virginia and his
son Chandler. He was a distant cousin of our James Jr. I had to sort this family out of our line even
though much information regarding Gerrard's descendency was found online.
James Fowks Jr. and wife Rachael Haydens had four children as follows:
Rachael Fowkes, Thomas Fowkes, born 1650, Daniel Fowkes, and James Fowkes III.
James Jr. was engaged in shipbuilding. He owned land also. He held deed in Accomack Co. Virginia for
350 acres of land recorded November 18, 1676. James Jr. spelled his surname differently in different
court transactions in that county. He spelled his name Fowkes, Fookes, Ffowkes, Ffokes, and Ffooks
on different legal papers. It appears the majority of his second child Thomas' descendants continued
to use the surname spelling Fowkes. A large number of descendants have been recorded right up to present
day with further variations of the spelling of the surname spelling including Fookes, Foulks, Foulke,
and Fooks. James Jr. died in 1677 in Virginia.
It is Thomas, son of James Jr. from whom we descend. There are several online stories about Thomas
Fookes the innkeeper and wife Amey, both of whom also lived in Accomack Co. Virginia. There has been
no relationship found to date between our Thomas Fowke and this Thomas Fookes though James Fowkes Jr.
was a contemporary of that Tavern Keeper. A very interesting story regarding this innkeeper follows here.
In 1665 the first continental colonial congress performance on record occurred in Pungoteague , Accomac
County, Eastern Virginia in the summer of 1665, when William Darby, Cornelius Watkinson, and Philip
Howard performed Darby's play, THE BEAR AND THE CUB. This event may also have occasioned the first
example of anti-theatrical hostility.
On the complaint of Edward Martin, the three actors were arraigned on 16 November 1665 and ordered
to appear in court with costumes and script on 18 December, 1665. The justices found nothing offensive
in the performance. In the following court session of 17 January 1666, the players were found not guilty
of any indiscretion, and Martin was saddled with the court costs. It has been traditionally related to
have been performed in Cowles ( Cole's ) Tavern. The court records however do not stipulate the site
of the original production, only that it was reproduced in Cole's Tavern because it was known at the
time as functioning as a temporary court. Susie Ames has argued that Cowles, or Cole's Tavern, was
more properly Fowke's Tavern in 1665, as it was still in the possession of Thomas and Amey Fowke's and
not sold to John Cole until sometime after 1672. Whitelaw notes that Edward Martin was a neighboring
property owner and perhaps something more than a distaste of the theater was at stake in the litigation.
Our Thomas Fowkes, son of James Fowke Jr. and Rachel Hayden, was a Quaker who lived on 200 acres of
land in Quancock, Accomack County, Virginia which he and his wife, Sarah Dorrington, purchased from
Garrett Supple and wife Mary Calvert. Quaker records state that Quaker meetings were held at Thomas
Fookes house after the burning of the Quaker meeting house at Guilford.
Thomas and Sarah Fowke of Accomack Co. Virginia moved from Accomack Co. to Dorchester Co. Maryland in
Cambridge area sometime before his death. He actually was buried in Annapolis Maryland, according to
a book written by the descendants of Gerrard Fowke, mentioned earlier, and their data at the Maryland
Historical Society. This book is where Herbert C. Fooks of Annapolis got much of his information for
his 1953 book which has become the bible of the Fooks Family Genealogy, the name of his book. I explored
this bright green book in Raleigh N.C. this summer where Diane Fanning, our Blake cousin and I went to
the North Carolina Archives Building and found the estate records of our John H. Fooks, proving he was
the father of William Stephen, Nannies' great-grandfather, who mom says she had never mentioned.
Herbert C. Fooks of Maryland was a famous man in his own right.He states in his book of several hundred
pages that he tracked the Fowks lineage back to the year 40 B.C. in Scandinavia. Who'da thunk? I include
only to 550 B.C. Sorry! Ha!
Thomas Fowkes will was written and probated in Accomack Co. Virginia which shows he had strong connections
there even after he relocated. His will was written October 25, 1720 and executed on February 5, 1722.
I have to note here my observance that our William Mortimer Fowlkes Jr. called "Bubba Willie" by most,
son of Dr. William Mortimer Fowlkes, was born on the birthday of his paternal grandfather William
Stephen Fowlkes. I note also that Thomas Fowke , 1650,died on the death day of William Stephen Fowlkes.
Executors of Thomas Fooks' will were his sons Benjamin and Daniel. There is also mention of a Thomas
Fooks in North Carolina. There is mention of a Thomas Fowke in Johnston, Dobbs (later Lenior county)
N.C. I found Thomas Fowke in the Old Dobbs County Census book Number 6, 1758 - 1765. It is not unreasonable
that our Thomas Fowkes lived at one time in North Carolina before removing back to Virginia to live with
one of his daughters before his death.
Thomas and the majority of his family moved in one unit to Maryland. It must have been around 1704 because
his son William's pending marriage to Mary Foster was announced in several Quaker meeting houses in
Talbot Co. Maryland in the year 1704. Thomas also married Sarah Dorrington who was born in Maryland
in 1665. The Fowkes family moving together like they did lends credence to the fact that Quakers were
persecuted and looking for a safe haven and around 1720 the colonies in Virginia were growing and bringing
with them other spiritual convictions. The Quakers lost their influence in the colonies and were even
jailed and murdered for their beliefs, especially since they had their own way of marrying and were not
married in the traditional Christian churches making their marriages frowned upon in the old strictly
prudent ways of the early Christian colonists. There was even a Quaker trail known to many who relocated
south and west down the mountain valleys into North Carolina. The Cane Creek Quaker meeting was established
in Orange County (Alamance Co. now) North Carolina, and the New Garden Meeting was established in 1754
in Guilford County North Carolina with much Quaker influence around the Greensboro and Rowan County
areas of North Carolina. The way was very hazardous and hard. There were few roads in the early 1700's
and very few towns. No maps where available. The horses and wagons were loaded with all their worldly
goods and so they had to walk most every step of the way. In addition, the Indians were a constant
menace and hundreds of settlers lost their lives to the Indians. There was a John Fowlkes who was
scalped by the Indians and his children taken and raised by the Indians. They later were negotiators
between the Colonies and Indian Chiefs.
An early map of this Quaker trail shows a road of sorts, a trail mostly, which extended southward
from Wilmington, Delaware, through Baltimore, Maryland; Alexandria, Fredricksburg, Richmond, and
Petersburg , Virginia; and then through Warrenton, North Carolina to Hillsboro in Alamance County.
Part of this route was over the Occaneechi Path long used by Indians to trade at the Indian village
of the Occaneechi. That village was on the Roanoke River. Present day Interstate #95 follows the
course of that old trail almost exactly through Maryland and Virginia.
There is a 1722 record in Dorchester County Maryland whereby the Choptank Indian tribe complains in
the Council that a William Fowke, James Fowke and several others refused to pay them rent even though
they were living at the time on land owned by the Indians.
In my research I found a William Folks married to a Mary Foster of North Carolina. Thomas Fowke and
Sarah Dorrington had ten children. Their second child William was our ancestor. This is where my
research goes wild with "veins" and "tributaries" and where my research has been stuck for this past
two years. I think at this point I have sorted it out by the process of elimination and also found
the reason why I found so many of the Fooks and Hearns, Lowder's and Morris's mentioned around Albemarle
and Montgomery County North Carolina in the late 1700's and early to mid 1800's. All of my data pointed
to the Benjamin Fooks and Catherine Roach families which all were found in Maryland and later as a group
in Albemarle. I just never could connect our exact family to this line which is so well documented online
and in the Herbert C. Fooks book.
Thomas and Sarah Fowkes had ten children as follows:
They were born between 1670 and 1690.
Neomy Fookes (Edmonds)
Mary Fookes (Warrinton)
Rachael Fookes (Pritchard)
Elizabeth Fookes (Cripin)
Sarah Fookes (Idlet or better known spelling: Adelyotte)
Most of my recent research regards William's brothers and sisters who married into the Hearn, Cottingham,
Ennis, Adelyotte, Warren, Roach, Purnell, Toadvine, Cannon, and Perdue families. The Perdue Chicken
family member married an Elizabeth Fooks. All of these names are found in North Carolina in the 1800's,
and mostly around Albemarle and Salisbury areas. Thomas and Sarah's son William and his descendants have
never been well documented
.and one Lucy Alexine Wallace Oakes (with a big smile!).
William Fowkes, son of Thomas, was born around 1680 either in Maryland or Virginia. He married on
September 2, 1704 in a Quaker Meeting House. They had nine children as follows:
Our John Fowkes/Foulks was born around 1710 and married a Mary Frazer. Their only known child was
our descendant John Philip Foulks Jr. born 1741.
This John Philip Fowlks /Foulks married Sarah Sutton born 1736 and they had four children. Their
children are as follows:
John Folks born August 16, 1767
Joseph Folks born November 29, 1769
William Folks born January 1772
William Folks born December 15, 1774. He was born in Virginia.
I believe this William Foulks born December 15, 1774 was called Philip and his brother William called
It is around this time that the revolutionary war started and ended in the United States independence
from England in 1776. As reward for their service in this war, soldiers of the U.S. Government were
granted land in North Carolina; amount of land determined by a soldiers rank in the service. Lifetime
friendships were made and kept during enlistment, and among members of the fighting battalions. War
buddies became land grant neighbors and neighbors became in-laws. Land grants up to four thousand
acres were given to the highest ranking soldiers.
My research of the book, "North Carolina Taxpayers 1701 - 1786", lists many Fooks and Folks and Fookes
and Foulks family land grants.
Also listed are surnames associated with our Fowlks from Albemarle.
William Morris, John Morris, Totevine (later Toadvine), Blake, Hearne and others who became neighbors
of John H. Fooks in Albemarle were mentioned.
One William Folks was granted land in Dobbs County North Carolina in 1779. As time passed large blocks
of land were settled and given different county names. Dobbs eventually became Iredell and Burke Counties.
These were near Salisbury and Albemarle N.C in the late 1700's.
In 1700 North Carolina had only five counties and they were located on the eastern shore of the Atlantic
Ocean. These were all in the north and eastern part of North Carolina and were rectangle shaped land
masses of strips of land, all of which are now Currituck and Dare counties. These were as listed;
Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan and Bath counties.
Only forty years later, in 1740, there were thirteen counties. All of these counties touched the
ocean except Bertie, Craven and Bladen counties, which divided vertically into these three; but
horizontally they reached all the way to the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. A small piece
of Craven County touched the inlets of the Atlantic Ocean, and that is where my data records our
Fowks families first settled in North Carolina. I am here to conclude that when Thomas Fowke and
Sarah Dorrington Fowke left Accomack Co. Virginia, and then Annapolis Maryland, they sailed to
As mentioned before, our relative Thomas Fowk was a ship builder and a Sea Captain. I have been
at a loss to determine where in Virginia our Fowk family lived until recently. I know that Thomas
and Rachael loved Annapolis Maryland on the coast. I found data circa 1674 relating our Thomas
Fowke # 1 to Westmoreland County Virginia.
One Thomas Hanks, related to actor Tom Hanks, was born circa 1632 in Gloucester Co. England. He married
Elizabeth Lee before 1650. He died April 8, 1674 in Gloucester Co. Virginia. Thomas Hanks is found in
Westmoreland County Virginia land records, along with THOMAS FOWKE, Merchant; 3, 350 acres. Westmoreland
Co. June 10, 1654, page 301.
This land was "upon south side of Petomack River". This land was written as "upon the head of a branch
of the Petomac Creek dividing this and a tract of land known by the name of the FORT LAND & COMPANY.
It describes 2,000 acres granted to Mrs. Jane Harmer, December 1, 1652 and assigned unto said Fowke,
plus 1,350 acres for his transport of 27 persons from England to Virginia..It goes so far as to list
the twenty-seven persons he transported, including himself. They were:
Gerard Fowke, his cousin, Thomas Fowke, his son, John Bayley, Robert Dycott, Richard Holbar, John Halbar,
Robert Mosley, William Newell, Edward Carey, Richard Granger, Robert Land, Thomas Grey, Benjamin Price,
Thomas Hankes, Charled Gregory, Henry Hatburn, Mary Joyner, John Haten, John Dryver, Hannah _______?,
Bridget Carey, Mary Peneales, William Walden, Richard Horton, John Martin, John Coule. This is the land
record where THOMAS FOWKE claimed his headright of another 50 acres for paying for the passage of Thomas
Hankes to Virginia.
Westmoreland County, where our Thomas Fowke owned land was the birthplace of George Washington, the first
President of the United States; James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States; and General Robert
E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armies. It is located on a "finger" of land outward from the mainland
of Virginia sandwiched between the Rappahannock River and the Potomac River. It is about 200 miles north
and east from Richmond Virginia. If Richmond Va.'s center was a clock, Westmoreland would be at site
one o'clock from there, on the coast. Thomas could have easily sailed from there to the North Carolina
coast, docking at Craven County where some of our Fowks settled.
By 1750 those three counties which had vertically covered North Carolina from top to bottom, and had
no boundaries on the west side, had been settled. The huge county of Craven, where Thomas had sailed,
was divided up into three counties; Dobbs, Johnston and Duplin counties. The original area of Johnston
County was formed from Craven County in 1746.
In 1758 Johnston was broken up again and Dobbs County was formed. This was the area where our John Foulks,
born 1741, and his wife Sarah Sutton lived. His father, John Foulks Sr. and wife Mary Frazer owned land
bought from John Stevens, planter, on August 27, 1764. This deed found in Dobbs County in a deed book,
DEEDS OF JOHNSTON CO. Book D1, page 235. John Sr. and Mary Frazer had given birth to their only son,
John Philip Foulks Jr. It was there where our great-great-great-great grandfather William Fowkes was
born on December 15, 1774.
By 1780 Dobbs had branched off into Wayne County and counties had now developed all the way to the
western border of North Carolina. Three huge counties now covered the entire western third of North
Carolina. These three counties were vertically, top to bottom, in that order, Wilkes, Burke (covering
the middle section and the most land mass) and below, Rutherford County. Attached to Burke County on
the eastern side was now Lincon and Rowan Counties.
By 1800 a section of Burke County on the eastern border, and a section of the next county bordering
Burke, Rowan County, was taken and a middle county between the two was formed. This was Iredell County.
In the book, IREDELL COUNTY N.C. DEED ABSTRACTS, Books A and B, 1788 - 1793, in Deed Book B, page 315,
I found a deed dated July 16, 1795. Land of John Haffner sold to WILLIAM FOLKS, for the sum of 55 Lire;
a tract of land on the north side of the Catawba River, joining Gabriel Alexander, John Haffner, Robert
Patton, and containing 100 acres. Land is part of a tract surveyed for Robert Patton, and granted to
him August 9, 1787. This deed was registered November 13, 1795.
In the same books, Iredell County N.C. books E and F of 1803 to 1808, one William Fooks, Planter, of
Burke County North Carolina, sold land to Peter Mock Sr. for $60.00 on June 8 1805. It was 39 acres
lying on the north side of the Catawba River. The land was originally granted by the State to Robert
Patton in 1790 and then to John Hofner and then to William Fooks. The deed was proved 1805. This is
the same year our John H. Fooks was born in North Carolina. Ironically, our cousin Martha Wallace Hoffner
married Roy Hoffner of Salisbury N.C. in the 1990's where she lived in his Tara style mansion deeded him
by his father and built around 1800. I visited and spent the night in this mansion in 1990 where I walked
the grounds and felt the history. At that time, I had not a clue that this may have been the land once
owned by our William Philip Fooks.
It is to this area of North Carolina that the letter I found in Alexander County N.C. was addressed. The
letter salutation showed familiarity to the people of this area as if William Fooks once lived there.
He mentions too that his father lived there. The letter was sent from Montgomery County North Carolina
in 1812. At that time, Stanly County, Albemarle N.C. was still part of Montgomery County, and where our
great-great-great grandfather John H. Fooks was born. At the time of the letter John H. would have been
five years old. This letter ties our Albemarle family to William Folks of Burke county N.C. and to
Lincon and Montgomery counties, now Stanly County as of 1841.
William Folks married a girl from Salisbury N.C. named Sele Hunter. She was the daughter of Ann Walton
and Elisha Hunter. Sele is listed in the Albemarle census of 1830 living as a widow near her son, John
H. Fooks and Hanah. John and Hanah are recorded with one son under 10 years of age
our great, great,
Grandfather, William Stephen Fooks, born April 30, 1830.
Now, about the letter I found in William Fooks own hand.
This summer I was researching on the internet and looking in some obscure genealogy query forum when
I came across a query from a Ray Gryder. It read as follows:
Author: Ray Gryder
Date: 09, January 2001
Looking for any assistance!
Recently donated material to the Alexander Co.N.C. Ancestry Association in Taylorsville N.C., a letter
from a William Fooks/Fowks in Montgomery Co. N.C. to Cornelius Grider ( who was from the Alexander Co.
area ) inquiring about his father Philip Fooks/Fowks. This letter is from the first half of the 19th
century. I have never heard of this Fooks/Fowks family in any other references to my research on my
Grider/Gryder family. Anyone with any info on this Fooks/Fowks family should please contact me.
Ray Gryder, II
14205 Bermuda Point Court, Chester Virginia, 23836
I tried contacting Ray and could not reach him. I found the Alexander County web site which mentioned a
Genealogy Society. It gave a phone number and within minutes of my contacting them, they had found the
letter and sent it on its way to me! I was thrilled to say the least. It is this letter which proved
this William was the father of our John H. Fooks and was indeed our g-g-g-g-grandfather. I feel it
further proved that the Sele living near John H. Fooks in Albemarle in 1830 was John H.Fooks' mother
and proves that William Folks is the Planter from Burke Co. N.C. who once owned land in Iredell Co.
N.C. in the 1790's, thus proving his migration from that area.
The letter was directed Catawba River, Lincon Co. N.C. and dated March 23, 1812. Another letter was
dated 1814. What a find!
The letter to Cornelius Grider of Lincon Co. reads as follows:
Montgomery County, North Carolina, March the 23 rd day 1812.
Dear brother and sister,
I once more embrace the opportunity of writing to you to convey some of my ideas respecting your happiness
and mine, the only hope after death, am taking any road to fall upon. I would recommend practical Godliness
with free resignation to the will of Devine Providence in all his dispensations.
I must acknowledge some happy seasons of refreshing grace since I saw you and have felt more joy in one
day than in all those years of vanity.
I have nothing more encouraging to write than I hope to prosper a lot in that big city ere long. As to
bodily health we are well, only my little son James. I give my first and best respects to my old father
Philip and Margaret and William Warren and his household.
Remember me to all friends. We remain as ever your loving brother and sister until death.
William Fooks and Sele, his wife.
The second letter was written to Cornelius Crider also. It was dated November 19, 1816.
From North Carolina, Montgomery County
Since God in His kind providence, my dear brother and sister, have spared us in time and have given us
this opportunity of writing to you.
We would inform you we have good reason to be thankful to God for his mercies toward us. We wish to live
to his glory and die in his favor and if it be our lot to receive the welcome of faithful servants.
We hope to meet some of our relatives though we are destitute of their company here. Our daily wishes
are their welfare. Respecting our little profits arising from only the death of our honored old father,
you are more appointed than we are.
We wish you to give us the best information you can by a letter and as William my son told us you were
wishing to purchase our Right. You may do so on good terms. So no more at present but remain as ever your
loving brother and sister till death.
William Fooks and Sele his wife.
There is not a dot of punctuation in either letter and is therefore difficult to interpret meaning and
By 1810, William and Sele Hunter Fooks had moved to the Captain Kirk's district of Montgomery county
North Carolina. Later, in 1841, that section became Stanly County. It is recorded in the Montgomery
county census of 1810 which I have copy of, William Fooks owned seven slaves.
John H., his son, was now five years old. John H. Fooks, our g-g-g grandfather, was born on October 17,
1805 in Montgomery county, West Pee Dee River section, Albemarle, N.C. He died on January 19, 1885 there.
The next information I have about John H. was January 5, 1838 when he sold two tracts of land west of
the Yadkin River to Noah J. Russell for $125.00. The first tract was 54 acres on Mountain Creek. It began
at Jacob and Samuel Carter's line, Callaway's line and Jacob Carter's corner.
The second tract was 30 acres which was part of 150 acres which was land grant to William Fooks , it went
to Sam Carter's first line. It was about his time his father William Fooks died. His death was between
1832 and 1838. Dates are not researchable at his point in time due to a fire which destroyed the Stanly
On November 8, 2004 I was searching the FOLKS family genealogy board on Ancestry.com and ran across a
posting by Evelyn Morton. The query was posted on May 18, 2000! This was four years ago! The posting read,
"Looking for any descendants of this family. My g g g grandparents were John H. Folks and Hannah (maiden
name unknown). John's father was William Folks. John H. Folks was born on October 17, 1805 and died
January 19, 1885 in Stanly County, N.C. Children of John and Hannah Folks were William S. ( our Willliam
Stephen ), Alexander, Samuel John, Sarah E., James M., Hettie Louise, Mary Jane, Margaret T. and Sarah."
My research shows some differing information.
John H. Fooks and Hannah R. were living in Albemarle in 1830. They lived in a row of houses on the
west side of the Pee Dee River. The row of houses were in this order: James Upchurch, age 30 -40,
Ceily (Sele) Folks, age 50-60, Tim Ragsdale, age 30-40, John H. Fooks/Folks, 20 -30 years old, with
one male child and wife, Samuel Stone, and Peter Styles, ages 20-30 years old, and lastly, Penelope
Folks, age 40-50 years old.
At one time I considered the Ragsdale male the father of Hanah Folks.
I have since decided that Hanah was a RUMMAGE. I know that her initial was R. I know that the Rummage
family were kin because they were named in a lawsuit for John and Hannah's land against, whom other,
.WILLIAM STEPHEN FOWLKES! I also know that Hetha Louise Hopkins named her first daughter Flora.
This was probably after her grandmother; Flora Rummage who is buried in Palestine Cemetary in Albemarle.
John had two sisters who lived with him. They were Sarah Fooks and Ann Fooks. Ann Fooks was born three
years before John H.Fooks. She was marked in the census as "deaf, dumb or idiot". She lived with John
and Hanah all her life and died a short six months after John.
Most of John and Hanah's children lived and died and married in Albemarle. They are as follows:
1. WILLIAM STEPHEN FOWLKES. Born April 29, 1830. His grandson, William Mortimer Fowlkes Jr. was born
the same date, in 1856. He married LUCY JONES BLAKE from Fayetteville, N.C.
2. ALEXANDER FOOKS. Born 1833.No record of whom he married. I know that his grandfather owned land
with and next door to the Alexander's in Salisbury N.C. in 1805. I think this family if for whom this
child was named.
3. SAMUEL JOHN FOWLKS. Born 1835. Samuel John married the daughter of John H. Fooks close friend, John
Morris. His wife was a widow at the time and her name was ADELINE MORRIS PENNINGTON.
4. JOHN M. FOLKS. Born 1843. He enlisted in the civil war at age 16 years old. He found about thirty-five
battles and ultimately died on the battlefield at Cedar Run Virginia. I have a description of this battle
and a list of all the battles in which John M. Folks fought. He died August 09. 1862 at Cedar Run.
5. HETHA LOUISE FOOKS was born August of 1849. She married William Henry Emsley Hopkins. This is the line
which Evelyn Morton, authoress of the first information I found online regarding this family. Hetha's
grandchildren were named as defendants in the suit for Hetha's fathers' land. Her father being John H.
Fooks. The suit was filed in 1907 by WILLIAM STEPHEN FOWLKES. Hettie's children were listed as "tenants
in common" of said land. I believe her children were living on this land when William Stephen filed to
get them off it.
There is no evidence that WILIAM STEPHEN FOOKS every visited this younger sister, nor his father. My
grandmother LUCY FOWLKES -FRENCH never mentioned this family to my mother, and no one in the family knew
of the John H. and Hannah Folks family in Albemarle nor of their relationship to us.
6. MARY JANE FOOKS. Born July 5, 1849. I believe Mary Jane married into the W.T.LISK family. She married
secondly to JEFFERSON D. CLINE. I believed she later married a Cagle. There were Cagle's listed as
defendants in the suit also.
7. MARGARET T. FOOKS. Born February 13, 1854. She married
GEORGE W. GENKINS or JENKINS on September 3, 1872.
MARGARET FOOKS died April 18, 1911.
SARAH FOOKS, sister of John H. Fooks, married a man 20 years her junior in 1882 on December 27. Hannah
was deceased by this time.
The groom of Sarah Fooks was JAMES CULL OR CROWELL AUSTAIN (AUSTIN).
JOHN H. FOOKS lived another eleven years after Hannah's death.
I have proof of this as evidenced by a will of his good friend John Morris where John H. was present
at the probate of this will in 1879.
I thank LINA BOYD, email@example.com, for information regarding marriages of John Fooks children,
and many thanks also to PENNY WELLING of the Albemarle Public Library in Albemarle for her kind help with
looking up data there.
I have already mentioned the estate papers of JOHN H. FOOKS which I found at the N.C. State Archives in
Raleigh. Named as defendants in the lawsuit for 137 acres of land on Mountain Creek in Albemarle, were
Joining WILLIAM STEPHENS FOWLKES of Rockingham, Richmond County North Carolina in this lawsuit were
WILLIAM STEPHEN FOWLKES
What a fight! This suit was filed for only 37 acres of land! The suit filed by William Stephen Fowlkes
was filed TWELVE YEARS after the death of his father, John H. Fooks. The main defendant, Dave Fowlks,
was not living in Albemarle and according to the court was not living in the state of N.C.
The judge of the Superior Court of Stanly County N.C ordered said land sold and divided as there was no
way to divide up said small amount of land. As Dave Fowlks could not be found, the Judge ordered sale
of said land to be published in "some newspaper" in Stanly, County, "once per week for four weeks".
This was done in the STANLY ENTERPRISE.
On July 2, 1907 the land was auctioned on the courthouse steps at 12:00 noon to the highest bidder!
The bidding took place on September 2, 1907 "in front of a large crowd being present, when and where
J.R. McCain and D.D. Parker became the last and highest bidder for said lands at the sum of $350.00".
The money was divided this way;
R.L. Smith, Lawyer
M.T. and W.T. Lisk
On this day of my writing, January 25, 2006, I am so happy to write that I received an email from
Pam Holbrook who emailed me saying someone gave her my request for help finding the OLD FOOKS CEMETARY
in Albemarle. Pam so very kindly sent me directions to the cemetery near Palestine N.C., off Airport
Road, and down Saw Mill Road in North Albemarle. She gave me names and numbers to contact for help
and at this writing I am planning to go there very soon!
This is the perfect ending to my journey!
It has been a tremendously exciting, adventurous, educational and sometimes frustrating journey of a
lifetime! My research continues with new discoveries daily to help me on my way to the Fowlkes, and
ultimately to myself and to you. What is my goal? It is to learn more about myself and my place on
this planet and how we each fit in.
God has been good to me. The spirits of our relatives have been good to me. It has been the adventure
of a lifetime and a labor of love to and for my family. I have many documents not included in this
narrative which lend further prove of this lineage. I will hold them close and will eventually organize
them into, "THE NORTH CAROLINA FOOKS / FOWLKES", an addendum to the Herbert C. Fooks' book, "THE FOOKS
FAMILY". The North Carolina line is left out and now the research will be complete.
I hope each of you enjoy reading and acquainting yourselves with our Fowlkes family as much as I have.
It is my wish and hope for all of us to be together one day in the love taught us by our Creator, and
in the place prepared for each of us,
we all become one in Him.
I love you all,
Lucy Alexine Wallace Oakes
January 20, 2006,
birthdate of Lucy Watts French Wallace, our beloved mother.
Here is the info. provided in the 1926 Alumni History and Directory of
FOWLKES, John I.; Physician M.D.; prep. schs., Rockingham Schs.; b.,
Nov. 1, 1874, Rockingham, N.C.; s., Wm. S. F., jeweler, and Lucy
(Blake) F.; m., April 24, 1907, Louise Chesnutt, of Clinton, N.C.;
Presbyterian; Specialty, Diseases of Women and Children; address, 128
Charlotte St., Hamlet, N.C.
Source: Shawn McCauley (June 20, 2006)
Research Services Assistant
Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library
Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University
This research is dedicated to my beloved mother, Lucy Watts French Wallace; to my loving grandmother
Lucy Blake Fowlkes Watts French, and to Doctors William Mortimer Fowlkes, III, IV, and V!
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