Chatham County
North Carolina
Note: Much of the following information was obtained through the generosity of Charles Ashworth who paid for professional genealogical research at the NC Archives in 2007.

William Dowdy Sr.
of Deep River, died 1826


William Dowdy born before 1755 (age +45 in 1800 Chatham census)

William Dowdy Sr born before 1765 (age +45 in 1810 Chatham census)

William Dowdy Sr of Deep River born before 1765 (above age 50 and exempt from paying tax in 1815 tax list. Or possibly disabled?)


Relationship with Thomas Dowdy [d1815]

William Dowdy and Thomas Dowdy [d 1815] lived next to each other on Deep River and are about the same age. Thomas Sr. died in 1815 and William died in 1826. Thomas Dowdy Jr. [d.1859] was the executor of both the estates. [Signatures of Will of Thomas Sr, and on adminstrator bonds 1815 and 1826.] They could be brothers or father and son. The records do not state a relationship.

Thomas Dowdy [d.1859] was made the administrator of the estate of William Dowdy, deceased on 14 November 1826. Joseph May and Archibald McIntryre were the securities for a $500 bond. On Tuesday of the 1826 November Court Term of Chatham County Court of Pleas & Quarter Session Thomas Dowdy was recorded as the administrator of the estate of William Dowdy, deceased. The court ordered him to sell the perishable part of the estate.


Estate Sale of William Dowdy Sr 1826

The estate “Sail” of William Dowdy deceased was held on 5 December 1826. Items under $1 were paid in cash and other items were by bond paid in nine months. Thomas Dowdy, administrator reported , “ I find the amount said Sale of William Dowdy Property $86.38.4 Sally and Elizabeth Dowdy were the only females at the sale. Dowdy males included Thomas, Joab, Mathew, James, Benjamin. Others: Richard Cole, Ephraim Odom, Allen Marr, Kirk Brantly, David Mitchel, Levi fields, Miles McInnish, Matthew Stone Thomas Jenkins, Murdoc McIntosh, Archibald McIntyre

Farm Items:  

Coper adds Hackle &


Lot of old Irons

2 Swingle true on Irons?

One pare chais ch & hamer

one colter Iron

pair chair chains

2 plows

iron wedge

lot of chissels

2 auger

2 saws

weeding hoe



pair compersas

saw irons & casks


2 barrels of corn & residue of corn

fodder stack


2 barrels & half bushel

About 20 hogs

2 sows with pigs

Household items: 

Spinning Wheel



lot of old books

lot of cookware


dish & bason

lot of plates

lot of crockery ware

2 lots bottles




2 beds and close



There are no "female" items included in the sale. The land was rented to Joab Dowdy. The name Richard Cole could be the husband of Mary Cole who is later mentioned in a court case of the heirs.

Chatham Co Court Records

1832 May Term Court

A court case of Thomas Dowdy, Administrator vs. Mary Cole and others was recorded during the May 1832 Court Term. “In this case appearing to the Satisfaction of the Court that the Defendant Richard Dowdy, George Dowdy, William Dowdy, Thomas Dowdy, John Dowdy, Joseph Dowdy, Micajah Dowdy, Joab Dowdy and his wife Elizabeth are not Inhabitants of this State. It is therefore ordered that Advertisement be made in the Raleigh Star for six weeks notifying them to appear at the next Term of this Court and plead answers as demise or the Petition will be taken for a confess as to them and heard exparte.

1832 November Court Term (see above)

Tuesday November 1832 Court Term “The following Deed was admitted to record and ordered to be registered to wit: A deed Horace D. Bridges Commissioner & Thomas Cole duly acknowledged."

A deed was recorded on 12 November 1832 Horace L. Bridges, commissioner of Chatham County to Thomas Cole of Moore County, NC. The land was the land William Dowdy, deceased and located on the Deep River. 132 acres


1826 Administration Bond granted to Thomas Dowdy [d 1859]

Chatham Deed Records: Land Identified as being owned by William Dowdy Sr of Deep River (died 1826)

Deed Book B p. 406-407 

80 acres formerly land of “Herman Husbands”

15 November 1780 John Birdsong Sheriff to John Montgomery 

North side of Deep River Beg. At a Mulberry Tree at the said River Corner of Jesse Hollingsworth then runing East along the said Hollingsworth line to a Hickory and Dogwood in William Dowdeys line then South or thereabouts along the dividing line between Joseph Pinson and William Dowdy to a White Oak, Red Oak and Ash on the River Bank then up the River the various Courses to the first station estimated 80 acres
John Montgomery

Deed Book DP p. 418 

110 acres

1 January 1788 John Montgomery & wife to Joseph Lea Beg.

At Mulberry at the said River corner of Jesse Hollinsworth runing East along the said Hollinsworth line to a Hickory and Dogwood in William Dowdy's line then South or therabouts along the dividing line between William Dowdy and Joseph Pinson to a white oak Red Oak and Ash on the River Bank thence up the River the various courses 110 acres of land Land conveyed to John Montgomery by John Birdsong sold 15 November 1780 .. Deed Book B p. 406-407

Deed Book X p. 331-332

1st Land purchased from Pinson 1763

2nd Grant 84 acres

Heirs of Thomas Dowdy to James Taylor

1821 2 tracts on the North side of Deep River adjoining each other.

1st beginning on the River bank at the mouth of a branch William Dowdy's lower Corner then North or therabouts along the dividing line to a pine in the back line then East to two pines the lower Corner then South to a hickory on the river bank up the various courses of the river to the beginning. 50 acres

2nd Begins at a black [ ] One of said James Taylors present corner then East 166 poles with Taylors line to a Red oak then South 81 poles to a stake then West 166 poles to a stake then direct to the beginning– 84 acres. [see land grant next which confirms the source of this property]

Thomas Dowdy SR Land Grant File 1891 Grant 496

84 acres - Warrant On the waters of Deep River on the North side the suplus in his old survey beginning at a black Jack his own and James Taylors corner running with said James Taylors line East round the compliment. Survey 1 August 1808 Beg. At a Black Jack James Taylors corner then running East 166 poles with Taylors line to a red oak then South 81 poles to a stake then West 166 poles to the beginning. [Plat does not agree with survey which appears to be drawn backwards] 

Deed Book AC p. 308-309

132 acres 

(see deed image below)

10 November 1832 Land belonging to the heirs of William Dowdy

Lands sold at public auction to highest bidder Thomas Cole for $350 -North side of of Deep river beginning at the mouth of a branch on the river bank runing up said branch N 35 W 3 chains 50 links then West 2 chains thence N 52 W 7 chains then N 20 W 8 chains then N 307 W 32 chains 20 links to a dead pine in Waddells [now Harrises] line then S 22 chains 30 links to a Post Oak Harris Corner then W 8 chains 75 links to a Dogwood formally Leas corner then up Leas line S 35 chains to a White Oak on the River then down the River to the first station 132 acres (This land was sold by Thomas Cole to Brooks Harris in 1849) 

Lineage Analysis and Speculation

There seem to be several pre-1800 William Dowdys in Chatham Co. Some are identified as follows (although they may be one in the same person?)

1. William Dowdy who appears in road orders in as early as 1763 in the Deep River area (southern Chatham)
2. William Dowdy who is killed by Tories in 1782, the same person granted land in Rocky River in 1785
3. William Dowdy who post-1800s is known as William "Sr." in the Deep River area

The following is a theory based on the following census analysis:


1790 HH
Birth Date

1800 HH pg 171
Birth Date

1810 HH pg 189?
Birth Date

Birth Date
*Assumes 2 years apart

Named in 1832 Estate Document
(document order)
William Dowdy
1. male
2. male
3. male
4. male
5. male
6. male
7. male 
b. bef 1774
b. bef 1774
b. bef 1774
b. 1774-1790
b. 1774-1790
b. 1774-1790
b. 1774-1790
b. 1774-1790
b. bef 1755
b. 1784-1790
b. 1784-1790
b. 1784-1790 
b. bef 1765
b. 1784-1794 
b. 1748
b. 1770
b. 1772
b. 1776
b. 1778
b. 1784
b. 1786
b. 1788
William Dowdy
1. Richard b bef 1774 (in 1790 cen.)
2. George K. of Hickman KY b 1772
3. William of Wm'son TN b 1770-80
4. Thomas (maybe of Perry TN)
5. John of Wm'son TN b abt 1780
6. Joseph of Graves KY b abt 1784
7. Micajah of Graves KY b abt 1780
8. Joab of Graves KY b abt 1780-90
1. female
2. female
3. female 
b. bef 1755
b. 1774-1784 
gone (dead?)
b. 1765-1784 
b. 1750
b. 1774
b. 1780
b. 1782 
Unknown name
1. Mary b1770-80 m. [Thos.?] Cole
2. Unknown name
3. Unknown name

The list of children in the 1832 estate document fit the census profile for William Dowdy Sr perfectly. Eldest son Richard Dowdy (in rank order in the 1832 document) is enumerated outside William's household in Chatham Co in 1790. He is untraced after 1792 but is clearly alive (outside NC) in 1832.The other 7 male children are living with their father in 1790. Four more male children are living outside the family in 1800. George is found in 1800 Chatham census, but the others including Richard are not identified. They appear in very early TN tax lists. Joseph Dowdy is found in an 1806 church record across the boarder from Williamson TN in Dickson Co TN.William, Micajah, and Thomas are found in 1810 Williamson Co TN taxes. John, Joseph, Micajah and William are found in 1820 Williamson Co TN census. Thomas Dowdy is granted land in nearby Perry Co TN in 1820.

William Dowdy (Sr.?) of Deep River Profile Theory Conclusions
Born approx 1748 (or slightly earlier)
Married approx 1769
(age 21)
Died 1826

Note: the earliest date that "Road Order" William Dowdy of Deep River shows up in records is 1763. IF William Dowdy (Sr?) of Deep River was born as early as 1747 instead of 1748 (-ish), and IF, "Road Order" William Dowdy of Deep River was barely 'of age' in the 1763 record (i.e age 16), then the two could be the same person???

What are YOUR thoughts on this theory?