Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thomas Howell and Piety Wilson

Thomas Howell and Piety Wilson are my 4th great-grandparents. I have previously written about their daughter, Jane Howell, who is my 3rd-great grandmother and her husband Archibald McNeill.

Thomas Howell was born about 1805 in Tennessee, the son of James Howell and Martha "Patty" Hill. Piety Wilson was born about 1804-1805 in North Carolina. She may have been the daughter of John Wilson. Thomas and Piety married about 1823 in Burke Co, North Carolina. Thomas and family can be found in the 1850 and 1860 Yancey Co, North Carolina census. In 1870, Thomas and Piety can be found in Snow Creek township, Mitchell Co, North Carolina census. By 1880, Thomas is still in Snow Creek and living with his second wife, Eliza, and his children from that relationship: Saunders, McWilliam, Elmira, Minnie and Melvina.

Piety died in 1874 and Thomas died 22 Jan 1891. Both are buried at Gouge Cemetery, Mitchell Co, North Carolina.

They had the following children:
  • Nancy Ann born abt 1824, married Henry Gilbert Silver
  • John D born abt 1830, died 19 July 1862 in Richmond while serving in the Civil War. He married Sarah Wilson and had four children.
  • James C born abt 1832
  • Martha born abt 1833
  • Mary born abt 1835
  • Elizabeth M born abt 1837
  • Jane E (my ancestor) born abt 1841, married Archibald H. McNeill, died Nov 1862.
  • Robert Pinkney born abt 1844. He also served in the Civil War.

Thomas is probably my most "colorful" ancestor. He is well-known to have several illegitimate children with more than one woman. Prior to Piety's death, he had several children with Eliza Tolley. whom he married following Piety's death. It is possible that Eliza may have been his niece, her mother possibly being Thomas' sister. However, I have not confirmed that fact.

Besides farming, Thomas was also known to be a blacksmith. I suspect that his grandson, Robert Nelson McNeill, may have learned the blacksmith trade from Thomas. Based upon review of Archibald McNeill's Union pension documents, it appears that Archibald remained close with his first father-in-law after the death of Jane Howell McNeill.

My dear online friend and cousin-in-law, H. McKinney, took the following photos of Thomas and Piety's headstones at Gouge Cemetery, Mitchell Co, North Carolina. As you can see, weather has taken it's toll on them. More recent memorial stones have been placed below the original headstones.

If you are related to Thomas Howell or Piety Wilson, please contact me. I would love to share information.

Sources available upon request.


  1. Again we are related. My great grandmother on my mom's side descends form Thomas Howell.

  2. Hello, Thomas Howell and Piety Wilson are my paternal ancestors. Would love to hear from you. I have blogs for various genealogy leads I am following -- here is one:
    From this one, you can access other via the links list to the side of the main text.
    I will follow-up with on on my direct ancestors -- if you would like email me --
    weavercat AT gmail DOT com
    I think we are distant cousins.
    -- Cathy Ann Abernathy