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Life Sketch of Nancy Ann Morehead


Nancy Ann Morehead was born in April 1779 in Halifax, Virginia. She was the 8th child of Joseph Morehead and Elizabeth Turner. She had six brothers and four sisters. Ann had a very good voice and family tradition says she was a "celebrated singer". She also was a great "student of the Bible". She never offically joined a church, because she couldn't find one that interpreted the Bible the way she did.


Ann married Daniel Thomas about 1810. They had five children; Joseph Morehead 1811, Elizabeth Turner 1812, Preston 1814, Daniel Claiborne 1815, and Ann 1817. All the children were born near Rockingham, North Carolina. The four oldest children grew to adulthood, but Ann died as an infant.


Ann and Daniel lived on a 3,000 acre plantation. It was on the Yadkin River. Their house had 8 large rooms and was set on a hill about 1 1/2 miles from the river. Spring water was brought 400 feet up the hill by means of a pump. There were orchards, a garden, a shad fishery and sheep. They owned 30 slaves that they used for work both in the house and in the fields. The Thomas' hired a New England school teacher and had a school for their own children and also let others in the area attend. When the children were older, the boys went to Rockingham and later to the University of Virginia. Elizabeth attended the plantation school and later was sent away to a finishing school.


Ann became a widow in 1830 when Daniel died in Rockingham. Their oldest son, Joseph took on the responsibility of running the plantation. The other children were teenagers. The family continued to live on the plantation for about five years. About 1835, Ann decided she wanted to be closer to her family. Ann and all her children moved to Tennessee. They sold everything and only took their personal belongings and their slaves. They settled about one mile south of Covington, Tennessee. Ann's son, Preston, ran a sawmill there. Her other son, Joseph, was not happy in Tennessee and moved his family to Mississippi. A year later he came back to Tennessee and persuaded Ann and his brothers and sister to move to Somerville, Mississippi where he and his wife had settled. In Somerville, Ann's house was on the South side of the town. At first she lived alone, but later her daughter and son-in-law sold their house and moved in with her. Ann's son-in-law, James Madison Morehead was a good artist and painted a full length portrait of Ann while they were in Somerville.


While she lived in Mississippi, Ann grew "cotton and apples" on her land. She had several thousand acres there. Ann died in November 1843, of "influenza". Her death was the same day as her husband had died 13 years before. She died in Somerville, and was buried in the Somerville Cemetery.


Information from "History of Joseph Morehead Thomas" written by his grand daughter Nellie E. T. Johnson, and Norman Leo Heap. Compiled by G. Lewis October 2006.

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