Information concerning Col. Thornton Yancey of North Carolina

Mrs. Tempe H. Carraway, the author of the Nanney-Yancey History ca.1930. Was one of the first serious Yancey family researchers of this century and wrote the first genealogical report that was exclusively about the Yancey family.

The following is a quote from a "write-up" that was done in conjunction with her report.

This was about 1930 -

"Thornton Yancey Sr, son of James Yancey and his wife Anna Thornton, was born in 1740 and died in 1799. He was married in 1770 to Elizabeth Mitchell, daughter of John and Phillis Mitchell who was born in 1752 and who died in 1804. Their children were as follows: Thornton Yancey Jr. - born in 1771; Elizabeth Yancey born in 1772; Sterling Yancey born in 1774, Tryon Yancey born in 1776.

Thornton Yancey becoming, when of age, prominent in history. He was an officer in the Revolutionary War and member of the Assembly from 17787-1792 and was in Provincial Congress 1776. He was made major and then colonel, was sheriff of county July 1781 and in August 1781 Treasurer. His military record -- Wheeler's History, page 85 of first series, pages 165-166 of second series. North Carolina Record - Volume 7 page 702-1768, volume 23 pages 993-1776, volume 19, pages 412-447-1784, volume 12, pages 2 to 31, 1778, volume 10 page 531 a major. The family records were secured from Court Records and family Bible."

Although this is an early writing, purported to have been taken from family and court records. Much caution should be taken in respect to the validity of this information. A few points to consider:

1) Although there does seem to be evidence to indicate that the wife of Thornton Yancey was named Elizabeth. She was not the daughter of John & Phillis Mitchell. This error seems to have resulted from a confusion over Elizabeth Yancey (the wife of Sterling Yancey) and Elizabeth Yancey (the wife of Thornton Yancey). Sterling's wife was the daughter of Phillis Mitchell (but from a previous marriage to William Willams - Sterling Yancey married Elizabeth Williams. There does not seem to be any hard evidence that the maiden name of the wife of Thornton Yancey was MITCHELL.

2) Concerning the dates. The dates seem to be "guest-imates". From Bible Records we know Sterling Yancey was born in 1762. SEE: The marriage date of Thornton - 1770 seems to be too late. and the death date of 1799 is also wrong: Both Thornton Yancey and his wife died in 1811. The birth dates of all the children appear to be suspect - and the order appears to be wrong.

3) Although purported to be from Court Records & Family Bibles - the only Bible that Mrs. Carraway appears to have had access to was the Bible of Tryon Yancey see: which has very limited info.

I tend to think that somewhere along the line Mrs. Carraway, or someone before her, got mixed up over Elizabeth Yancey - the wife of Sterling - and the wife of Thornton Yancey - and erroneously attributed the maiden name of MITCHELL to Thornton Yancey's wife. It would appear that most later researchers COPIED this info into their information.  

in the book: "Marriages of Granville County North Carolina, 1753-1868" By Brent Holcomb, 1981 we read "Yancey, Thornton & _______, ________ (no date, colonial period) document not completed; Wm Allin bm"

Al Spinks refers to the following: Eliz. Hicks Hummell who wrote a book titled "Hicks History of Granville Co., N. C. Marriage Bonds" in which on p. 138 she claims that Elizabeth Mitchell and Thornton Yancey were married about 1769-1770. She also refers to" A. Landis" who I would guess is either the bondsman or the preacher. I believe this is a book I either found in Raleigh, NC archives or at the library in Oxford, NC.

I would almost tend to think that Mrs. Hummell may have supplemented missing court records with family information (possibly coming from Mrs. Carraway or others) which MAY have been incorrect information.

Another important note about Col. Thornton Yancey -  various researchers of the 1980's began to refer to him as "Andrew Thornton Yancey".  It took me a while to track down the source of the name "Andrew".  It seems the name was a misinterpretation form the Sterling Yancey Family Bible which has an entry for Col. Thornton Yancey - but the way "Col"." was written it almost looked like "And." - and someone interpreted it to be "Andrew".  A thorough investigation really seems to indicate that the name of  "Andrew" as his first name is totally unfounded.