Wilmington or somewhere else….

Where was Thomas Donaldson from? It is one of the questions that has been plaguing me for years. Is he from Wilmington, North Carolina, as legend states or did he travel down to Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, Maryland or Virginia?

My great grandmother, Nannie Donaldson, said in a letter that Thomas Donaldson came from Scotland to Wilmington, NC. Wilmington and Brunswick County were the only places between Virginia and South Carolina where foreign ships could safely come into port in the 1700’s. The rest of the North Carolina coast was to treacherous to navigate because of the Outer Banks. The Highland Scots settled the Cape Fear Region in the mid 1700’s because land was cheaper than in other areas.

Most of Thomas Donaldson’s neighbors in Abbeville came down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. There was a Thomas Donaldson who came into Maryland in 1716 as an indentured servant. I don’t know if that Thomas Donaldson is related to mine or not. I have contracted with Maryland Genealogical Society to do some research for me to see if my ancestor Thomas Donaldson came through Maryland or if he was born there. I should have a definite answer either way in a few weeks.

 

Thomas Donaldson Bible first page analysis and more…

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The first sentence says ” Come people attend whilst I do retal (retell) my travels? from my sin to my …..(last 2 words are illegible). My best guess is “from my sins to my present state”  because that makes sense according to context. I am pretty sure it is a testimony of Thomas Donaldson’s faith. I am not sure what denomination he was considering I can’t find any church records on him. I do know that most of his children were Baptist.

Thomas says the book is his. His daughter Polly Donaldson (born 1797) practices her penmanship on this page.

Thomas’s son, William Donaldson, wrote the bottom part which is somewhat illegible. The handwriting is distinctly different from Thomas’s handwriting above. It was probably written after Thomas died in 1811.

I have gleaned a few things from this Bible.Firstly, Thomas Donaldson could read and write. He was somewhat educated. Secondly, this particular Bible was published in 1794 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He obtained it after his marriage to Mary Cook Donaldson (they were married 1792/early 1793).

My question is how did Thomas Donaldson come into possession of this Bible? Was it sold in South Carolina to individual citizens or did one of his relatives bring it over from Scotland when he/or she immigrated? Was it a gift of some sort? I want to find out the answers.

Thomas Donaldson Bible Record

This is a record of Thomas Donaldson’s children. The first page was written in William Donaldson’s hand. The rest is written in Polly’s hand and someone else’s hand.  The Bible was printed in Edinburgh in 1794 and is housed at the Lexington County Museum in Lexington, South Carolina.

The letter (Part 2)…

As much as I would like to think the letter that my Nannie wrote was historically accurate, the lack of historical evidence states otherwise.

I cannot find any proof that Thomas Donaldson fought at Kings Mountain. I have checked the roster of soldiers and his name is not on the list. I cannot find evidence that Thomas Donaldson had 2 other brothers. I am pretty sure he had one brother named William Donaldson. William Donaldson was listed in the 1787 tax list in Abbeville along with Thomas. William was also listed in the 1790 census of Abbeville with Thomas.

Thomas Donaldson could have been from the Wilmington area because there was a large Scot Irish settlement in the Cape Fear Region. I think Mary Cook may have been from Sampson County, NC . There is a Cornelius Cook who was in Sampson County, NC in 1790, but he disappears by 1800. A Cornelius Cook (a son?) then pops up in Laurens County in 1794 according to land records. Cornelius Cook was mentioned in Thomas Donaldson’s state record in 1811.

 

Why I am here…..

My name is Samantha Nifong. I am an avid history buff. My grandfather ingrained in me the love of Civil War history when I was a child. He taught me about Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson. He took me to my first reenactment when I was 10 years old. My father continued to stoke the fire of my interest in history by taking me to Civil War battlefields throughout my teenage years.

I majored in US History at the College of Charleston. I also took Historic Preservation classes. My favorite classes were the ones about Charleston history and Charleston architecture. I think I learned more about Charleston History by walking the streets in downtown Charleston than in the classroom.

All my education and research skills have brought me to my freelance work in genealogy. I have made a vow to myself that I would find out as much as I can about my past; where I come from; the lifeblood of my ancestors within me.