Dilemma: I don't know if my brick wall was from Duplin or not. After moving to Georgia he married a Duplin girl whose family had moved to Bulloch County, GA, and that leads me to wonder if the families had known each other in Duplin. Theophilus Nichols was born 16 Jan 1808. His parents were not married, and family lore says his mother died in childbirth, having said she hoped she would die because of the trouble she had caused her family. Some say his father's surname was Mann, others say Case, but we have no evidence to support either. I had hoped to find a bastardy bond that would prove his parentage, but so far none has surfaced. We believe that he was reared by his mother's parents. It is thought that at an early age Theophilus was apprenticed to a carpenter. This supposition seems to be supported by the fact that in Georgia he was known as a master carpenter, who himself built his family's home outside Portal, Bulloch, GA. The house is still there and in good condition. The hope that an apprenticeship bond would turn up has been disappointed. At about age 12 he left home to follow uncles who were then living in Burke County, GA but who planned to move to Texas. They are said to have migrated at some time after the 1830 census, but Theophilus told grandchildren he got as far as the Mississippi River and decided to return to Georgia. We have not been able to trace to Texas any of the Nichols who were in Burke County in 1820 and/or 1830. Theophilus married Rebecca Crumpton (04 May 1818 - 07 Aug 1869), daughter of John T. Crumpton and Mary Alderman, in Bulloch County 18 Feb 1838. He and Rebecca lived in Bulloch County for the rest of their lives. During Sherman's "march to the sea," the Union army went through Theophilus's 1600 acre farm. Theophilus was anti-slavery and never owned a slave. (After the war he signed the "Ironcad Oath.") He told one of his grandsons that the reason why the family house survived the army's visit was that members of the local black population surrounded it and stood up to the Union soldiers, telling them that Theophilus was a good man who would not use slave labor to farm his acres. Their defense of him saved the house. Theophilus Nichols died 11 February 1881 and was buried near his wife in the family cemetery. If anyone knows of a woman who died in North Carolina on or shortly after 16 Jan 1808, I would greatly appreciate knowing who she was. She may be my elusive ancestor. Theophilus and Rebecca Nichols were my great-great-grandparents.
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