Tracking Sylvester Estes

by David Powell
The following article previously appeared on the Rootsweb Estes mail-list.
One of the more elusive sons of Abraham Estes (1647-1720) was his presumed eldest son, Sylvester. The following article attempts to trace some of his movements. The main source was Estes Trails, 1989, vol.9, no.4, pp.15-16, item by Garmon Estes.

In "Cavaliers & Pioneers", by Nell Nugent, p.237, there is mention of a Robert Parish. He possessed land in King & Queen County that was bordered on one side by that of Silvester Estice. Dated 22/6/1722 (dates are in english format). This appears to have been the same land that Abraham and Barbara Estes had earlier lived on. No surprise then that their eldest son inherited the family plantation.

Since most of Silvester's children were born before 1722, and specifically the two of greatest interest, Ephraim (c.1712) and Thomas (c.1715), we can conclude with a fair degree of assurance that they were born in King & Queen Co, VA.

On the 7/11/1734 there was a deed between Robert Ivey of Edgecombe District (now Nash Co, NC) and Jasper Stuart of Upper Parish, Bertie District. Witness was Silvester Estes. (from "Colonial Bertie County, NC, Deed Books A-H, p.152). Bertie Co, NC was formed in 1722.
Some months ago I posted an article to the estes mail-list concerning a John Estes of Hyde Co, NC. Well Bertie Co, NC is almost next door to Hyde Co, NC where there was a John Estes who died there in 1732 with 8 kids. This John is so far a mystery. Is there a connection?? Also, Sylvester's son, Abraham (b.1732) was in Pasquotank Co, NC in 1769 and this county is also a stone's throw from Bertie Co.
"John Spann and wife Mary, to Silvester Estes, 8/8/1741 160 acres in Upper Parish of Bertie County on NS Morattock River adjacent to John Glover, Thomas Bradford, "John Spanns former corner". Granted 8/4/1730. Witness: Jasper Stuart, jurat; David Rozar, Richard Cross, Auguest Court, 1741" (From "Colonial Bertie Co, NC", Deed Books A-H, p.167).
This land was either part of that in the 1734 deed above or another part of the original 1730 grant to John Spanns. The description of the land is the same, same neighbours etc. Several counties were formed from Bertie so I'm not sure of the current location.

It looks that Silvester moved to old Bertie Co, NC by 1722. At that date the oldest of his children were still minors, likely no older than the early teens. So they would've travelled there with him (unless they died before then).

On 30/7/1754 William Glover made his will in Northampton Co, NC. It was proved in the 1754 August Court. Silvester Eastis was a witness. ("Abstracts of NC Wills", Grimes, 1967, p.136). Northampton Co, NC was formed from Bertie Co, NC in 1741.
In 1754 Sylvester was still in old Bertie Co. The Glover's appear in the earlier deed (1734), so I would assume that the land Sylvester bought in 1734 was in that part of bertie co that became Northampton Co, rather than that he moved. Northampton Co, NC is on the NC/VA border. Across the border in VA lie the counties of Greensville and Southampton.

Sylvester's son, Ephraim, was in Granville Co, NC by 1740. Thomas was in Orange Co, NC by the 1860's.

So .. the movement of the family looks like this:

Sylvester .. in K&Q Co, VA until at least 1722
               .. to Bertie (now Northampton) Co, NC by 1734
               .. in Northampton (Bertie) Co, NC 1754
    Ephraim .. born c.1712, K&Q Co, VA
                 .. to Bertie Co, NC with father in 1720's
                 .. to Granville Co, NC by 1740 when he married a native
                          of that county
    Thomas  .. born c.1715, K&Q Co, VA
                  .. to Bertie (Northampton) Co, NC with father in 1720's
                  .. to Orange Co, NC by 1760
                        - location of marriage and birth of kids could be either Bertie or Orange Co. NC.
       John    .. died 1799, Orange Co, NC

Sylvester's remaining sons, Elisha, Joel, Caleb & Aaron presumably either died young or will one day be found having left traces somewhere in NC. Perhaps accounting for some of the Estes who appear from nowhere in NC in the mid to late 1700's.

The John Estes who died in Hyde Co, NC in 1732 could _not_ be the son of Sylvester of that name .. at the earliest Sylvester's son John could've been born 1704/1705 (Abraham married 1784). There's no way he could've have had 8 children by 1732 .. not unless he had all twins and triplets. But who he was .. I have no idea. It _seems_ pretty certain that Abraham Sr's son, John, was not this one.

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