Bird Family of Burke County, North Carolina

Last update: 09-Aug-2019 by Don Braffitt


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Introduction

These notes cover the family of Benjamin Bird Sr. of Prince George's County, MD and Burke County, NC.

For an online genealogy database which includes these Bird descendants and related families, go to https://willbraffitt.org/roots/.

Benjamin and Elizabeth Bird were from Prince George's County, MD.  The first known record of the family is from the 1711-1788 Rock Creek (Prince George's Parish), Prince George's, MD Register which lists Benjamin and Elizabeth Bird and the birth of their children Casandra Bird (1760) and Thos. Allison Bird (1762).

Based on research done by Catherine Bird Rudnick, there was a family of Birds in Prince George's County in this area known as Rock Creek Hundred as far back as 1733, when a Francis Bird is listed as one of the taxables.  He married a Jane Littleton in 1724 and had sons Francis, Thomas and John.  Rock Creek Hundred is also known as Prince George's Parish.  Since Benjamin and Elizabeth Bird and their children Cassandra Bird and Thomas Allison Bird are listed in this same Parish, it is possible that Benjamin Bird was a son of Francis Bird and Jane Littleton or closely related to them.

Bob Erwin has suggested that Elizabeth was an Allison whose family could be traced back to Fredericksburg, MD.  Several families into which the children and grandchildren of Elizabeth and Benjamin married (e.g. Banning, Allison, Rickets) were also from MD.  An 1870s letter written by Richard Bird Maffitt, great-grandson of Benjamin and Elizabeth, does not mention Benjamin and Elizabeth by name, but it does give the names of the 5 children along with the spouse for Cassandra:

Mother's grandfather was a Virginian but moved to McDowell Co before the Revolution.  He had some sons and one daughter:  Jonothan, Thomas, Richard and Benjamin Bird were their names.  Kasander married a man whose name was Thomas Allison ...

The family probably moved from MD to NC sometime between 1762 and 1764 probably to an area which at that time was Rowan County.  Rowan County was formed in 1753.  Surry County, NC was formed in 1770, and Wilkes County was formed in 1777.  Thus Jonathan and his brother Richard were probably born in Rowan County in an area that is today in Wilkes County.

The first land record in NC that has been located for this family is a 1778 Wilkes County, NC deed for land along the south side of the Yadkin River which references Benjamin Bird.  Benjamin is mentioned in the 17-Aug-1779 Wilkes County marriage bond between Thomas Allison and Casandrew Bird.  A 1780 Wilkes, NC deed also references Benjamin Bird's land on the south side of the Yadkin River.  Benjamin is listed in the Wilkes County, NC tax list for 1784.  Jonathan Bird is listed in 1785, and Thomas Bird is listed in both years.  Thomas Bird married Elizabeth Heatley in Wilkes County in 1784.

A Thomas Bird is also listed in the tax list for Greenbrier County, VA (now in WV) for 1783-1786 where Richard Bird would later marry Elizabeth Westlake around 1794.

Sometime between 1784 and 1787, the family probably moved to Burke County, NC to an area along the Catawaba River which is near present day Old Fort in McDowell County, NC.  Benjamin received a total of 225 acres in 4 separate Burke County land grants between 1787 and 1813.  Benjamin appears in the 1790-1820 Burke County federal censuses.

Benjamin Bird Jr. is not found in the Burke County census after 1790.  According to Miss Mary Greenlee who did some of the research in Data on the BIRD Family, Ben Jr. had sons Joseph and Charles and went to Oregon.  A 1793 deed lists Benjamin Bird, his siblings (Elizabeth and Alexander), and his father Benjamin Bird.  These two Benjamins are possibly Benjamin Bird Sr. and his father.

In 1795, Jonathan married Angelica Banning in Washington County, VA.

There are several references to Benjamin, Jonathan, Richard, and Thomas Bird and Thomas Allison in the Burke County Court Minutes for 1820-1825.  In 1810, Jonathan purchased 100 acres of land (recorded 1820).  In 1820, Benjamin sold Thomas 135 acres of land.  In 1822, Thomas Bird sold 52 acres to John Moffit Jun.  Also in 1822, Richard was appointed County Trustee.

An 1823 insanity verdict was returned against Benjamin Bird Sen. who "has so far left his reason that he is incapable of transacting any business."  Richard was appointed Guardian.  In 1824, the last will and testament of Benjamin was presented by Richard Bird, proved by an oath of James Banning, with Richard and Jonathan executors.  In that same year, Richard was again appointed County Trustee.  In Feb-1824, Thomas Bird and Thomas Allison sold land to Richard Bird.

Descendants of Benjamin and Elizabeth Bird are numerous in the 1850 McDowell County census.  Descendants also migrated to western NC around Macon County, into northern GA around Union County, and south to Cherokee, Milton, Fulton, and DeKalb Counties, all in GA.  Some descendants migrated to TN and TX.  Thomas Bird, son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Bird, migrated to Cherokee County, NC where he married Mrs. Agnes Elizabeth "Jane" (Worsham) Moss in 1846.  After his died in Murray County, GA, she submitted an affidavit for his Revolutionary War pension application.

Benjamin Bird and Elizabeth Allison - descendants

Benjamin Bird and Elizabeth Allison - references