MADISON, GA'S HISTORIC CEMETERIES
Military Veterans - American Revolution
Collected and researched by Jan Manos of Madison
Click here for the map to which the coordinates of each grave refer.
NOTE: Old, New, Fairview, and Memorial each refers to one of the four cemeteries that make up Madison's Historic Cemeteries.
1760 – 1817
Sergeant, 3rd Virginia Regiment
[D-2] Old Cemetery
By Jan Manos
William Pearman, Jr. was born before 1760 in Halifax County, Virginia. He was the son of William Pearman, Sr. (1730-1788, Halifax County, Virginia) and his wife Ann Pearman. William Pearman, Jr. was living in Halifax County, Virginia during the American Revolution. He enlisted February 11, 1778 and his service is recorded as serving in Virginia. He was a Sergeant under the commands of Captain Philip Richard Francis Lee, Captain John Peyton and Colonel William Heth, in the 3rd Virginia Regiment. His service has been documented and proven by the Daughters of the American Revolution. His Patriot number is A086951. It is interesting to note that his father, William Pearman, Sr., was also a Patriot, DAR number A086948. His service in Virginia was recorded as “donating supplies”.
The Pearman family had been in Halifax County, Virginia for a number of years. Both William Pearman Jr. and Sr. were born there. Both father and son were land owners, farmers and slave holders. Our William Pearman, Jr. married Isabella Stewart Weakley (1761 – 1820) in Halifax County in about 1780. Her father was Robert Weakley who also had settled in Halifax County. He was a very wealthy land owner who had almost 2,000 acres of land by the mid-18th century and was also a slaveholder. He too was a Revolutionary War Patriot, DAR number A123032, offering supplies to the Continental Army. Isabella’s mother was Elinor Stewart Weakley. Two of William and Isabella’s eight children were born In Halifax County, Mary (Polly) Pearman, born in 1781 and Robert, born in 1783. The Halifax County census has both families living in Halifax County through 1785.
The following year, 1786, William Pearman, Jr. and his family and perhaps two of his brothers, traveled further south to Wilkes County, Georgia. This is a pattern that was constantly repeated – families or family members all traveling together to begin a new life. There he purchased land, or was given land for his military service, and built a home. The deed is dated December 14, 1787, showing a tract of land 237 acres at Beaverdam Creek, “being in the 12th year of the Independence of America”. (Wilkes County, DD, p. 273). Their next six children were all born in Wilkes County, Georgia: Sarah b. 1786, Samuel b. 1789, Susannah b. 1794, William b. 1797, Weakley b. 1799 and Elizabeth b. 1802.
From 1787 until his death, William Pearman, Jr. was a planter/farmer in Wilkes County, Georgia. DAR records state that he died in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1817. The Georgia Journal, July 21, 1818 records the following information: “Wilkes Co., For Rent…plantation belonging to the estate of William Pearman…365 acres, signed Robert Pearman…” who was a lawyer in Madison from at least 1817 according to tax records, and the oldest son in the family. It appears that Isabel moved to Madison after her husband died. Her oldest son Robert and his wife Elizabeth Nothington Pearman were there and her three youngest children were minors and in schools in Madison. After Isabel’s death in 1820 the family property in Wilkes County was sold. William Pearman, Jr. and Isabel Pearman are buried side by side with matching head and foot stones. William Pearman lived to be 57 and Isabel died at age of 59.
1/23/1756 - 4/02/1818
Private, fought in Maryland,
[D-3] Old Cemetery
By Jan Manos
Thomas Norris was born in Harford County, Maryland, January 23, 1756. He was the son of John Norris and Susannah Bradford. At the time of his birth, the Norris family had been in Maryland for over 125 years beginning with Thomas’ 3 times great grandfather, also named Thomas Norris. Thomas Norris lived in Maryland during the American Revolution. He served as a Private in the militia under Col. William Smallwood and Capt. John H. Stone, in the 1st Company, Maryland Regiment. His service has been documented and proven by the Daughters of the American Revolution. His Patriot number is A084439.
Thomas Norris had a twin sister named Sarah. They were born in Harford County, Maryland which today is just north of Baltimore. The following was written by a family member in 1930, describing Thomas Norris, “He was educated in the schools of Baltimore, Maryland. In 1776 he and his brother, John, enlisted as Privates in Captain John H. Stone’s Company, 1st Maryland Regular Troops. In 1778 Thomas signed the Oath of Allegiance.” Following his military service, Thomas married Sarah Ann Billingsley, daughter of Francis Billingsley and Asenath Howell about 1782/1783 in Harford, Maryland. Sarah, like Thomas, was born in Harford County, Maryland. She was born in 1767. The Billingsley and Howell families both arrived into Maryland in the mid 1600s. Francis Billingsley was a staunch Quaker. In 1778 he signed the Oath of Allegiance. In 1780 he was drafted to serve as a member of the Grand Jury of Harford County. He sacrificed his religious principles and accepted this duty to his County and Country. He was made Foreman and was the only member of this jury who was reappointed and served until 1783. His service has been proven and documented by the Daughters of the American Revolution. His Patriot number is A010181.
The family history continues, “Thomas Norris moved to Wilkes County, Georgia the latter part of the year 1786, and there is a letter written by him dated April 1787 to his brother, John Norris, in Harford County, Maryland, in which he mentions a piece of land he bought which he intended to open up in the fall. His brother, Alexander Norris, either moved to Georgia with him or followed shortly afterwards as Alexander was recipient of a grant of land, 108 acres, in 1789. His father-in-law, Francis Billingsley, followed him to Wilkes County, Georgia late in the year 1789 or early in 1790. There he accumulated considerable land, built a house and a mill.” Both the Norris family members and the Billingsleys at this time worked the land and were slave holders. Again we see a group of family members all migrating southward together.
Thomas Norris and Sarah Billingsley had 12 children:
Asenath Ann b. 1784/85
Alexander b. 1786
John Bradford b. 1787
Benjamin Billingsley b. 1789
baby Norris b. 1791
Susan b. 1794
The first child Asenath Ann was born in Harford County, Maryland and the rest of the children were born in Georgia.
The family story continues, “He (Thomas Norris) was an old line Whig and the family Methodists. There is evidence to warrant statement that he was a member of the Masonic fraternity tho the lodge in which he was made a Mason is not known.” Norris was an attorney and purchased the Roger’s House in 1817. City records say the family business was manufacturing. Norris died in 1818 without leaving a will but Sarah’s children made sure she was financially secure. Sarah continued living in Madison in the Rogers house until June of 1824. At that time she moved to Dallas County, Alabama with her son John B. Norris, an attorney, and his family. She is buried in an unmarked grave in the old cemetery in Cahaba, Alabama. She died prior to 1827 because “the State of Georgia in 1827 issued certificates for land for Revolutionary service to solders, their widows, or heirs. Thomas Norris died in 1818, Sarah, as widow, does not appear, but Alexander Norris, eldest son and heir by law, does appear and was granted the land.”
In the Old Cemetery in Madison, the gravestone to the immediate left of Thomas Norris’ is that of his daughter, Emily Frances (Norris) Allen. Her husband was Nathaniel Allen a prominent lawyer in Madison, later a Judge and also a planter. They had a home in town and a large plantation of 800 acres “four miles north east of Madison, on Hard Labor Creek, adjoining the lands of Drs. Jones and Johnston, and Nathan Massey.” One of Emily’s daughters was named Sarah Ann Allen. She married a man 20 years her senior, Dr. Hugh J. Ogilby. The gravestones directly in front of that of Thomas Norris, are children of Sarah Ann Allen and Dr. Hugh Ogilby. The children would be Thomas Norris’ great grandchildren. One stone is for Emma Ogilby who died as an infant, another stone is for Emily Ogilby, who died at one year and to the left of Emily Norris Allen’s marker is the stone of Nathaniel Allen Ogilby, who died at twenty, another of the Ogilby children. That cluster of graves surrounding Thomas Norris represents four generations of his family.
Patriot Thomas Norris lived to be 62 years old and his wife, Sarah Billingsley lived to be 60.
Emily Frances b. 1796
Mary b. 1798
Thomas Pinckney b. 1801
Calvin R. b. 1806
William Jefferson b. 1808
James Archer b. 1810