A Virginia & North Carolina Sutton Family Genealogy

submitted by Charles D. Saggus, 1680 Hendersonville Rd #8A, Asheville, NC 28730


RICHARD SUTTON (8) (?- 1702/03) was in Northumberland County, Virginia, as early as 1669 at which time there was a judgment against him for 400 lbs. of tobacco. He married Ann . His will, written in 1702, mentions his wife, his oldest son William, a son John., and a daughter Mary. Lazarus Sutton is identified as another son through a joint agreement made a few years after Richard's death in which Lazarus and his brother John mutually undertake to support their mother Ann. In all likelihood another son was Richard Sutton who died in Westmoreland County (next to Northumberland) in 1747. Circumstances indicate that there was another son and he was likely Thomas Sutton. Nugent's CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS should afford some clue as to the arrival of Richard Sutton on the scene in Northumberland County but I have not yet checked it. Richard Sutton was obviously a comfortably established planter/farmer.

LAZARUS SUTTON (7) (? -1771) apparently married twice. In 1743 he devolved upon his three children Moses, Lazarus, and Martha 6 slaves in order to carry out the wishes of his "beloved" deceased wife. His will of 1771 speaks of his then living wife Elizabeth and indicates that he has a son John by her. The name of the first wife is unknown to me. Like his father, he seems to have been a comfortably established planter/farmer.

MOSES SUTTON (6) (? -1796) was married three times. His first wife Betty's name is revealed in a deed; his will indicates that only two of his children were by a later wife. He subsequently married Eliza Pittman in 1791 in a "Methodist Episcopal chapel" and Caty Pittman in 1793. One of these subsequent wives brought into his household several Pittman step-children. His children were: John, Thomas, William, Richard., James; the parish register indicates there were likely some daughters and they may be the children of one of the later wives.

Moses Sutton was a successful planter in Northumberland County. Records indicate that he was the supervisor of roads in his area, an ensign in thelocal militia, and a man substantially established. He was also brought before the local court "for behaving in a riotous manner against the draught ordered" in 1780-1781, likely some sort of requisition of war supplies or monies.

I have no conclusive proof that 'William., below., is the William of Moses Sutton's will but all circumstances so indicate. There were 7 William Suttons in Northumberland records from Richard's time to about 1800; the other 6 Williams could be eliminated for various reasons. Family name, given names, dates, etc. all make me accept the connection.

William SUTTON (5) (? -1798) married Elizabeth Jackson whose subsequent remarriages I note below. His son Moses is listed in the 1850 Census as having been born in North Carolina. Elizabeth Jackson Sutton mentions her children by Sutton as Moses, John, Nancy. Although her will was not probated until 1845, earlier Wilkes County records also indicate that William Sutton died as a young husband with only three children. Our cousin Thomas V. Heard who died a few years ago in Columbia S. C. told me that he as a child saw the original royal grant of land to our first Georgia Sutton ancestor; at the time he saw it it was in the hands of his grandfather John A. Sutton. Tom Heard wondered if this did not indicate that the grantee (which I presume he thought was William) was a Tory. I think it likely that this was a grant William had bought for Wilkes records indicate he came into the county no earlier than 1795; the grant was likely made out to another name.

The grant undoubtedly burned with the house in 1901/1902. The Reverend William Sutton (1811-1873) who is buried at Fishing Creek could obviously not have been a child of our William as he had died in 1798. I think this William was the son of our William's son Moses, below.

Elizabeth Jackson Sutton (?-1845) was subsequently married to George Muse and apparently later married Lewis Norman and even later a Mr Stocker., according to Mrs C. G. Smith of Conyers, Georgia. It is through these later marriages that we became kin to the Muses and Blackmons of later generations.

William Sutton's daughter Nancy married Pressley Aycock in 1824; this is one of our several connections with the local Aycock family; we are also linked -through the Wynns and, as I recall, through the McLendons.

M0SES SUTTON (4) (1790-1855) was born in North Carolina according to the Census of 1850. He married, first, Lotty Woodruff by whom, he had these children: James., William, Nancy, Letitia, Parthenia, Frances. William married a Lindsey and was the father of Blakey Sutton and Bob Lee Sutton, cousins living in the 20th Century; Nancy married a Talley and my grandfather Sutton bought his house from Sally Talley, one of Nancy's children; Parthenia married a Williams; Letitia married Reuben Kendall without her father's approval; Kendall was about 40 and a widower with several children while Letitia was only 16; Kendall was apparently a quite respectable machinist but the marriage ruptured Letitia's relationship with her father; see details in my thesis; Frances married a Lindsey who later fathered John Thomas Lindsey by a subsequent Stribling wife after Frances' death; James was an early practicioner of miscegenation.

Moses Sutton married, second, Sarah Rhodes in 1817. They had these children: Sarah, Amelia, and John Andrew. Sarah married a Turner and lived in Carrollton where she temporarily mothered the Candler boys of later fame on the death of their own mother; Amelia married a Lindsey and we have cousins descended from her; Amelia's old home yet stands (1978): Sarah had no children. It occured to me only a few years ago that while Sarah Rhodes and Moses Sutton married in 1817, John Andrew was born in 1839 and I think his two sisters were close to him in age; this means that between 1817 and 1839 Moses and Sarah Sutton had only three children! But a solution exists to this pattern. I first saw the Moses Sutton cemetery in 1948 and 1949 and I recall the large number of unmarked graves (only Moses' and Sarah's graves had markers; all is now unfortunately in ruins, pulp wood cutters have let timbers fall on markers, fences, etc.); what I thought were probably all graves of slaves (and some may have so been) could very easily represent many unmarked infant graves. I sense something like a tragic blood combination, etc.

I have a photograph of Sarah Rhodes as an e1derly widow. It is she who refused to move from her room when her son John Andrew Sutton proceeded to rebuild his father's home- into a more commodious form and , as a result, he rebuilt around that preserved room. There are no pictures of Moses now existing. However, he is reputed to have been powerful physically, and "Fed" 'Sutton, a former slave living around 1910, told Uncle Clem that he once saw Moses slap a vicious horse to the ground with his open hand. The minutes of the Danburg Baptist Church indicate Moses Sutton joined it on profession of faith in 1843; he would have been 53 years old at the time. Moses Sutton was a substantial planter. He owned about 1000 acres in his later years and owned about twenty five slaves in the 1850s, as I have indicated in my thesis HISTORY OF DANBURG

JOHN ANDREW SUTTON (3) (1839-1916) was the only son (surviving?) of Moses Sutton's second marriage and was not yet grown when his father died in 1855. He would have been considerably younger than his half-brothers and half-sisters. It is interesting to note that he bought out the other heirs to his father's home place and that his mother spent her widowed years with him rather than either of her two daughters.

John Andrew Sutton married Martha Urania Anderson in 1862. Their children were: Walter Lee, Elizabeth May, Edward Moses, John Linton, James Benjamin, Sarah Rhodes/Lally, Willis Anderson, and Eva Frances. These are my great-aunts and great-uncles and I presume those of my generation are familiar with their marriages and descendants; I would remind the reader of the fact that both Uncle Willis and Aunt Eva married twice; Uncle Willis' first wife was our cousin Louneal Walton by whom she had Willis, Jr.; he subsequently married Martha Drake Weaver; Aunt Eva first married a distant cousin Charles McLendon and had by him Willis; she subsequently divorced McLendon and married Snowden Savage; Willis McLendon took his step-father's surname.

John Andrew Sutton was 21 years old when the Civil War broke out in 186l. He became a member of Company C, First Georgia Militia, Captain John H. Walton commanding. A Negro slave, Lem, left to him by Moses Sutton's will, accompanied John Andrew Sutton to camp. Sutton saw some service in the coastal defense of Savannah. Action there after the Federal capture of Ft. Pulaski seems mainly to have been daily rounds of desultory shelling by each side. His grandson, our cousin Tom Heard, wrote me that his grandfather said the main activity was trying to scrounge up food each day. He apparently married before leaving the army, for his wife, Martha Urania Anderson, was staying with her mother, Julia McLendon Anderson when their first child was born in 1863. In addition, his widowed mother was at home without any attendant Sutton male, his half-brothers being long departed from home, and not her children anyway. John Andrew Sutton therefore purchased a substitute and returned home from the war. The substitute was killed by a lucky shot shortly after reaching camp. John Andrew Sutton assisted his widow financially as long as she lived. Uncle Clem once told me that John Andrew Sutton upon his return home from war had to spend some time locating cattle stolen frostolen from the Sutton plantation, some of which he found being sold in Augusta.

John Andrew Sutton was a substantial planter. In his later years he owned between twenty five hundred and three thousand acres. In addition he had a cotton gin and store at his home place and a gin at Danburg. He was a partner with his brotherin-law Alexander Stephens Anderson in a mercantile operation with stores at Danburg, Mallorysville, Pistol, Delhi, Metasville, and Jackson Cross Roads. As my thesis indicates, he was very much interested in the idea of developing a railroad through the Danburg area and in 1889 he was a charter stockholder in the Excelsior Manufacturing Company of Washington, Ga. which hoped to manufacture fertilizer, cotton-seed oil, and generate electricity.

In 1898-99 he cut his right severely at one of his gins and was forced to learn to write with his left hand. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed distributing the bounty of his handiwork to neighbors, friends, and relatives in the community. His home was surrounded by well kept yards enclosed in a white picket fence made of heart nine, and along the walk was a row of willow trees. He would talk to his friends on the sidewalk under these trees, the public road from Washington to Danburg running in front of the home. He would also meet his Negro farm hands and his tenants there. As he talked he would whittle on these pickets, and at his death in 1916 there was scarcely a picket that had not been cut at the top. Uncle Clem told me he was a great horseman and rode until within a few days of his death. He was a temperate man, neither drinking nor smoking and he was never heard to swear. Family tradition tells of a strong sense of humor and a real ability at story telling. He and Emma Danforth Wynn both had problems in dealing with a cantankerous friend/relative in their later years who refused to speak to either of them; when she asked him what he did when he met that person, he replied "I tip my hat as usual and say, 'Good Morning, Fannie.'"

While he was not formally educated, he seems to have been deeply interested in religion. He read "Russellite" literature and seems to have been intellectually prepared to question pre-destination found in the Baptist faith of which he was a member. Meanwhile, he got into a fight with his brother-in-law John Anderson; it was proved he was not "at fault" and he refused to "apologize" to the church and was thereupon "cited to conference and dismissed." With his wife he became a member of the Methodist Church and in later years served as Superintendant of the Methodist Sunday School while his son Walter was Superintendent of the Baptist Sunday School. John Andrew Sutton's home became a mecca for Methodist personnel traveling in this part of the state. Evening prayer was a daily occurrence in this household and all prayed and led in prayer. Uncle Clem took his oldest son, John Andrew Sutton's oldest great-grandchild, to see his great-grandfather shortly before the old man died in 1916 and he solemnly blessed the youngster according to custom.

I have a picture of his first home which was built about that room of his fathers home so staunchly defended by Sarah Rhodes Sutton. Uncle Clem remembered playing with Aunt Eva and Uncle Willis in the attic where they found basketsful of Confederate money with which they played, and all of my mother's generation have some recollection of the old house except her younger sisters. it burned shortly after 1900 and was relaced by the house currently (1978) owned by the Tankerslys. This latter house was built in 1904; I have the account book kept during its construction. The table in the old house seated sixteen, and on some days was filled as many as three times at a meal, especially during holidays or revival period. "Sutton Hall" was noted for hospitality. My mother and father set up their first housekeeping after marriage in 1920 in half of the later house, the other half being occuppied by Aunt Lilly who had acquired the house after the death of her widowed mother in 1918.

Martha Andesron Sutton survived her husband by about two years. She was a very devout woman, praying in public and leading in revival worship. She had a marvelous capacity for treating the sick, especially the plantation Negoes. Though slight of frame, she was industrious in everything. When her grandchildren visited her, she always took them into a quiet place and prayed with them, and even after she was too feeble to kneel, would utter a prayer as she kised them goodbye. She always kept a jar of ginger bread or other sweets for them. She was physically in weakened health in her later years and stayed rather close to home for the people about her. I have letters her son Walter which reflect her strong will for them to advance their education and become productive Christians and citizens.

WALTER LEE SUTTON (2) (1863-1947) was born while his mother was staying with her mother (Julia McLendon Anderson) in the latter's home (the ruins of which yet stand in 1978); he was born in the up-stairs room on the right as one faces the old house. In 1886 he married Harriet Louise Wynn. They had the following

children: Clement Evans, an infant son, Emma Louise, Martha Nell, Harriet Louise, Jessie Estelle, Cora Frances, Emma Danforth. The infant son lived only briefly; Emma Louise lived to be about two years old.

As a lad he attended Mr Beck's school in Danburg and then Mr Gresham's school. He attended business college in Atlanta around 1883. Throughout his life he maintained an alert interest in all that went on about him not only in his own environment but in the larger world, too. He maintained a very remarkable memory as to names, events, and dates to the end of his life. As an adult he was never physically active for he suffered a severe case of phlebitis occasioned by a case of mumps in his early manhood.

Walter Lee Sutton was an oustanding citizen in his community. He was a planter., a merchant, a director of the National Bank of Wilkes, and a director of Pope Manufacturing Co. of Washington, GA. As a member of the Baptist church he served as a member of the Board of Deacons, and as Superintendant of the Sunday School. He attended several regional denominational conferences outside the state. He donated the land for the consolidated school built in Danburg in the early 1920s, served as a trustee of the school, served as a member and as chairman of the Board of Education of Wilkes County. He was an officert revise the voting lists and was active as a young leader in the Democratic Party; he was a member of the Woodmen of the World and of the Wilkes County Farmers Club, For many years he was a partner in the firm of Heard & Sutton with his brother-in-law Thomas V. Heard; when this firm dissolved, he maintained the firm of W. L. Sutton Co.

The agricultural depression that commenced in the South following the Civil War and reached its depths in the 1920s and 1930s after a temporary respite from time to time (as during World War I) probably was the reason Walter Lee Sutton did not die in comparative wealth.

-my file of family papers; including materials from Uncle Clem and letters from Mrs C. G. Smith of Conyers, GA


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