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Person, William

by Sue Dossett Skinner, 1994

1700–11 Nov. 1770

William Person, county justice, vestryman, commissioner, sheriff, militia officer, and planter, was the son of John Person (ca. 1660–1738) and his wife Mary (ca. 1670–pre-1721), the daughter of Thomas Partridge of Surry County, Va. His parents were married on 10 Jan. 1692. William was born in Isle of Wight County, Va., and later lived in Surry County before migrating to North Carolina. He was one of the first settlers to secure acreage for a great plantation in the area of Edgecombe (later Granville, Bute, and present-day Warren) County. Family tradition says that he mortared together fieldstones for the dwelling his patent required him to build and that the stream beside the dwelling was thereafter known as Stonehouse Creek. The house was still standing in 1993.

When the Granville precinct of Edgecombe became a county in 1746 and the new government was organized, William Person was its first sheriff; he was also elected a county commissioner along with Francis Stringer, James Maclewean, and William Eaton. Person was a vestryman, as had been his father (of the Old Brick Church in Isle of Wight County, Va.), and was lieutenant colonel of a regiment of Granville militia of which William Eaton was colonel and James Paine, major. He was named a justice for the county in 1756. The recipient of numerous royal grants through Lord Granville, he owned extensive acreage.

Person and his wife Ann (d. 1781) had five children: Thomas (9 Jan. 1733–16 Nov. 1800, m. Joanna Thomas in 1765), William (30 Nov. 1734–1778, m. Martha Eaton), Mary Ann (6 May 1736–pre-1819, m. George Little of Hertford County), Benjamin (13 Feb. 1737–1771, m. Lucretia Browne), and Martha (6 Oct. 1752–25 Jan. 1836, m. Peterson Thorp, then Francis Taylor).

References:

W. C. Allen, History of Halifax County (1918). https://archive.org/details/historyofhalifax00allen (accessed July 21, 2014).

Samuel A. Ashe, History of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1908), and ed., Biographical History of North Carolinavol. 7 (1908).

Bute County Records, Estate Papers, Granville County Records, and Warren County Records (North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh).

John L. Cheney, Jr., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, vols. 11 (1895), 13–15 (1896–98), 17 (1899), 19 (1901), 22–23 (1907, 1904). http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/volumes (accessed July 21, 2014).

Raleigh Register, 25 Nov. 1800.

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vols. 6 (1888), 8–10 (1890). http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/volumes (accessed July 21, 2014).

George F. Walker, Person Lineage (1951).

Manly Wade Wellman, The County of Warren, North Carolina, 1586–1917 (1959).

John H. Wheeler, Historical Sketches of North Carolina (1851). https://archive.org/details/historicalsketch00whee(accessed July 21, 2014).

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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